The boys' bathrooms at the Mahanoy Area High School in Pennsylvania have been destroyed too many times to count. So these days every teenage boy who wants to go to the bathroom at Mahanoy has to go to the main office and sign a roll of toilet paper out. Then they have to walk back to the bathroom, that roll of TP in their arms, for the entire world to see.
Any guesses what has parents upset here? Maybe, oh, I dunno, the fact that their kids' school is practically doing the job for the bullies, making their kids easy targets?
I feel bad for the folks at Mahanoy Area High School. I really do. They've got a tough situation here. Destruction can be costly to repair, and it's unfair to the poor janitors.
At my high school the problem wasn't toilet paper backing up the potties. Crafty pranksters would stuff milk cartons with food and allow it all to rot before pouring it down the heaters in the bathrooms. The entire school would stink. We all suffered.
I reiterate: I get it. Schools have to do something to deal with kids who are hellbent on destruction -- be it in the bathrooms, the classrooms, the lunchroom .... Unfortunately these situations crop up, and more often than not, the schools go overboard, making all of their students' lives miserable rather than punishing the select few hooligans.
A few years ago it was teen girls being tortured by having to reveal their tampons to Gestapo-like school security guards in order to take bags to the bathroom. Now it's kids being forced to reveal their intestinal imbalances to the entire school.
It's 2013. We know by now that it doesn't take much for kids to pick one another apart. And here a school is expecting teenage boys to walk the halls with something in their arms that practically screams, "I have to go take a number two!"
Let's just imagine the nicknames that will come out of that one. Poopstain. S--tstain. Skidmarks. S--thead.
Oh, kids are vicious, and a name like that haunts you for years. And it's exactly the sort of thing that happens when these sorts of punishments are put in place. It's why Mahanoy parents say their kids are going to the nurse and playing sick so they can go home and poop in peace rather than subject themselves to torture from their classmates.
Is it so hard for administrators to put themselves in kids' shoes? To step back to high school and remember what will trigger bullies?
Schools are filled with enough bullying victims. Administrators shouldn't be creating more.
Has your child's school made a rule that makes kids targets of bullies? What happened?
Image via Sustainable Sanitation/Flickr