Vandalism in Boys Bathrooms Continues to Cause Maintenance Problems

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Vandalism in Boys Bathrooms Continues to Cause Maintenance Problems

Recent incidents of vandalism have caused damage to soap dispensers in several boys restrooms.

Recent incidents of vandalism have caused damage to soap dispensers in several boys restrooms.

Reilly Smith

Recent incidents of vandalism have caused damage to soap dispensers in several boys restrooms.

Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

Recent incidents of vandalism have caused damage to soap dispensers in several boys restrooms.

Addi Wedin, Staff Reporter

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Recent acts of vandalism committed in several boys bathrooms at La Salle have been destroying parts of the restrooms, forcing staff members to go out of their way to repair them. 

Several of the bathrooms are missing soap dispensers after they were ripped out, and all the dispensers in one of the bathrooms are broken, preventing people from being able to properly wash their hands. The vandalism started ramping up the week before Christmas break, and the school is now trying to get to the bottom of the situation.

Many students and adults in the community brought the vandalism to the school’s attention. Not only one boys bathroom, but multiple were damaged. Besides the bathrooms with missing or destroyed soap dispensers, various other forms of vandalism have occured.

The school’s staff has been unable to determine the reason why students are committing these actions. A lot of time and money is spent to maintain the bathrooms, and someone is continuously creating destruction. 

“It’s pretty disrespectful to the school community, not just to the people who have to clean up and fix the vandalism, but to anyone who uses those facilities,” said Mr. Brian Devine, Vice Principal of Student Life. 

Last year, there was a series of vandalism acts committed by students, with even worse damage than the recent events. Batteries were thrown into urinals and toilets, and additionally, entire rolls of paper towels had been thrown into the toilets, causing them to clog.

“Last year I made a pretty serious announcement over the intercom and we started tracking which students were leaving the bathroom and kind of really dialed in on [which] students might be using the bathrooms at specific times of the day, and that seemed to do it,” Mr. Devine said. “It definitely minimized it, and it seemed like it went away at that point.”

Mr. Josh Meyers is the director of facilities at La Salle. He takes care of all systems, repairs, and preventive maintenance to make sure everything runs smoothly. “We are trying to deliver the message that these actions are not how the community is,” Mr. Meyers said. “The acts of vandalism recently make me angry because it’s intentional, and a disrespect to the school. If you’re going in and breaking things, it makes them unavailable for other people.” 

Repairing the damage is hard work and frustrating to the staff who have to deal with the situation. Mr. Meyers works alongside Mr. Frank Rowlett, who is also on the facilities staff. The repair process of the damage in the bathrooms will consume the time and effort of both Mr. Meyers and Mr. Rowlett, which could be spent on other projects.

In past years, the administration was unable to identify the students who vandalized the bathroom. In a situation of vandalism, depending on how bad it is, students may suffer a suspension from campus, or be asked to pay for the destruction that they’ve created. 

Mr. Devine doesn’t know the exact cost of the damage that was recently committed, but he said that it is “probably at least $1,000, maybe several thousands of dollars of damage, that’s happened.” 

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot the school can do to prevent this from happening. “[The bathroom is] such a private area, there’s not really anything that you can do,” Mr. Meyers said.

The school is working to brainstorm methods to help prevent further vandalism from occurring. “I think my hope would be not to approach it from a disciplinary perspective or from a crime prevention perspective, but really to help educate students about the impact that it has on other people in the community and how it impacts the school community,” Mr. Devine said.

The administration doesn’t want to have to move into the direction of a consequence for anyone in the school. “If it does continue then I think we’re going to need to narrow the number of bathrooms that are available,” Mr. Devine said. “We might need to have a bit more of a specific sign-out procedure for students. I think that [currently] there’s a lot of flexibility for students to use the bathroom when[ever] they want.”

Mr. Devine agrees that students should have the freedom and right to use the bathroom as needed, but said that “if there’s vandalism happening, and damage is happening, and it continues to be a financial impact to the school, then we probably will take some different steps.” 

If students see any acts of vandalism happening, staff encourages them to come forward with information.

“Students should feel safe,” Mr. Meyers said. “They can come out and say something if they see it. It’s a small population, but the things these students are doing reflects on the whole community.”