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STATE OF THE CAMPUS: Bathroom Bluff

By Liliana Lopez, Copy Editor

Many students who walked onto the JFK campus at the beginning of this school year may have been angered, surprised, or perhaps confused after discovering that the C-Wing bathrooms had been closed. Students upstairs found it necessary to take the extra time to go down to the B, F, or even A-wings. As a result, bathroom wait times increased exponentially and became comparable to those of the DMV.

Hallway view of a C-wing bathroom. Photo by Joe Temblador, Editor-in-Chief

Amani Pittmon (Class of 2019) says, “It’s irritating. We have to walk down the stairs and then wait like five minutes in line.” This of course lessened the time students spent in the classroom. According to Assistant Principal Yung, a test was conducted last summer to time the walk from a third-floor bathroom to one in the B or F wings. It was reported to take only 37 additional seconds. However, this data doesn’t consider traffic on the stairs during passing period.

Unsurprisingly, both students and staff declaimed the decision to close the aforementioned restrooms. Ms. Baniecki, an English 9 teacher on the third floor, says, “I think it’s important for them to be open… for the students’ health.” It would appear that the Cougars got their wish; in the weeks since, the C-wing bathrooms re-opened. Unfortunately, reported incidents of fights, drug use, and class-skipping have risen sharply since their re-opening.

During a late-September press conference with the staff of the Clarion, Mr. Yung and Principal Van Natten disclosed the reasons why faculty decided to lock up the bathrooms. In light of the evacuations and threats last spring, it was found to be in the best interests of the Kennedy population as a whole to limit the number of places where students could be unsupervised, thus creating a “safer environment” at Kennedy. Additionally, the C-wing bathrooms had, according to Mr. Yung, become “a spot where activity takes place that is not conducive to school”. Although this statement may make it sound as though the bathrooms have become a dangerous place on campus, the situation is actually no worse than before.

The closure of the bathrooms has been a great inconvenience that has been felt by every student on campus. Mr. Yung himself agreed that “Every decision we make is not always right,” and the faculty has recognized this and made efforts to improve the situation.

Assistant Principal Yung and Principal Van Natten (not pictured) answer questions from Clarion staff during a press conference in late September. Topics included bathroom closings, school safety, gym renovations, among others.

 

 

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