Northwood’s new restroom policies


Aya Takase-Songui

A STICKY SITUATION: Hand sanitizers left outside the bathrooms can be used as a substitute for soap until vandalism comes to an end, as seen right of sophomore Hunter Welch.

Riya Gupta and Alyssa Quintana

Certain restrooms throughout Northwood’s campus will be closed until further notice, with amenities such as soap dispensers and mirrors being removed from all boys restrooms in response to ongoing vandalism.

The new restroom policies include keeping all second-floor restrooms locked during break and lunch and closing the bathrooms after school hours. These policies are meant to mitigate future issues for security and custodial staff that survey and clean the restrooms.

“Obviously, bathroom vandalism is not in line with our core values and how we treat our space and school,” assistant principal Jennifer Ollila said. “It’s really frustrating that our custodians are having to come and clean soap all over the floors.”

Students have had differing perspectives regarding the new restroom policies in relation to their experience at Northwood.

“It is not nice for the school community to do something like vandalism because we should respect school property,” sophomore Arnav Dhar said. “But, at the same time, I believe that it is not the right solution from the school because it removes cleanliness.”

Northwood’s administration has stated that the theft of soap dispensers poses a safety concern due to the risk of slippery floors. To prevent injuries, they found removing the dispensers to be the most safe and economical solution.

According to Ollila, the cost to replace amenities has doubled or even tripled the amount of the school’s budget allocated to bathrooms. In one day, the soap meant to last a week can be depleted due to misuse.

The custodial staff have also had to handle these incidents in addition to their regular duties around the campus. This increases their responsibilities in making sure the school is safe.

“We’re here to take care of everybody,” custodian Enrique Santillan said. “If everybody puts in their part, we can use our time more valuably and be able to do extra things that can be not just beneficial for the students, but the staff.”

There is currently no word on when these items will be returned to the restrooms. Northwood’s administration emphasized that the vandalism must stop before changes to the new policies can be made. 

Vandalism totaling less than $400 in property damage is a misdemeanor and anything above is a felony under California Penal Code 594. Students should report any misbehavior in the bathrooms to a staff member or on the Say Something app.

“Students need to let us know when something happens,” principal Leslie Roach said. “If you’re allowing other students to destroy school property, you are also hurting yourself.”