The C building boys restroom has been sporadically closed for maintenance over the past few months due to repeated vandalism, according to Principal Paul Belzer.
However, as repairs were carried out, the reason for the closure was never officially announced to students, leaving students speculating about the cause.
“There is a consensus among male students in thinking that the locking was caused by people Juuling (using e-cigarette-like devices) in the restroom,” said junior Junha Park. “I think all boys at school have seen people Juuling in that restroom.”
Although the increased vandalism frequency in the C building restroom may be correlated with it being a “hotspot” for Juuling, the closure of the restrooms was not a punitive or preventive measure against Juuling.
“The bathroom was never closed because of one ongoing issue,” said Belzer. “It may have seemed like a continuous lockdown because once something was repaired, another gets vandalized.”
Examples of such defacement include, but are not limited to, broken door handles and broken soap dispensers. There was also graffiti - particularly scratches and carvings - which warranted a repainting of the bathroom door and a ‘wet paint’ sign, which furthered delayed the restroom’s usability.
The seemingly endless cycle of defacement and repair is very hard on the maintenance staff.
“The custodial staff already have full time jobs,” said Belzer. “so the need to fix the bathroom on top of their original jobs is an extra load.”
Belzer also applied the New York broken window theory to the current situation; if the school permits vandalism and other illegal activity in the bathroom, then vandalism and more serious crimes will gradually become an undesirable and irreversible aspect of BHS.
“This is why the bathroom needs to be continuously fixed,” concluded Belzer.
Since the C building accounts for one third of the restrooms on the Burlingame High School main campus, the restriction has presented many inconveniences to male students.
“It’s a major inconvenience when the closest bathroom is the C building, but you have to run all the way to the A building or F building,” said Park.
For this reason, some students call for a permanent solution.
“We need to find a solution to prevent vandalism, not just keep patching the restroom up,” said Park.
“Students need have respect for the community when using the facility and technology,” Belzer said. “We need to respect the the learning environment. We wouldn’t have to lock it if there was no vandalism.”