Are Clean Student Restrooms An Oxymoron?


Michael Kleemen, News Editor

In order to keep the world a nice place, it is widely accepted that people need to respect the environment, and keep the facilities they use in good condition. Throughout my years in school, I noticed that many restrooms were trashed on school grounds. The restrooms were littered, and left in terrible conditions. What surprised me though, was when I aged and went to higher levels of education, the state of the bathrooms hardly improved. I think that this needs to change, and that we need to improve upon this problem. It is important that we as students try to preserve the cleanliness of our bathrooms at Birmingham, not only for ourselves but also as a gesture of kindness to Birmingham’s janitorial staff.

Paper towels thrown about, gum clogging sink drains, unflushed toilets–these are all examples of laziness and selfishness. Many students simply do not care about the difficulties of cleaning the restrooms and that is the spawn of their bad behavior. But think of this, part of respecting others is trying your best to treat others as you would like to be treated, aka, “the golden rule.” I think we can all agree that cleaning other people’s messes is not an easy thing to do, or a particularly enjoyable activity to partake in. Then why do so many decide to not clean up after themselves even going so far as vandalizing the facilities, or wastefully throwing around toilet paper and towels?  It is the same reason certain students don’t throw away their trash during lunch:  a sense of entitlement.  The idea that someone else will clean it up for you.

I could imagine if this behavior was commonplace among young students, such as elementary or potentially middle school students. But for those of us in high school, to neglect the state of our restrooms to this extent only serves as an inditement to our own bad behavior at Birmingham. Now, I’m not trying to point fingers at anyone, but I believe that we must all strive for the best possible conditions for the restrooms at our school.

Ultimately, I am unsure if people collectively will ever truly respect others, especially in this regard. But, it is our duty to try to make improvements in the lives and comforts of others, and it starts with each of us as individuals in this school. If we can all just take care of our own mess, then maybe this wouldn’t be such a commonplace issue on these school grounds, and on school grounds throughout the world.