Column: Bathrooms Against Humanity


courtasy of Jeriah Paulson

Jeri Paulson, Student of Journalism

Over my past four years at NHS, I have experienced an abundance of troubles related to the bathrooms. Stalls with broken doors and holes you can literally see through, the lack of bathrooms in the Link, and the absence of gender-inclusive/ unisex bathrooms. The fact that only one set of bathrooms has been modernized while the others remain trashy, broken down and neglected is unacceptable.

Four years ago Jeremiah Zolkowski wrote a letter to the editor in the Satellite stating the same problems I am. Since I was a freshman, the bathrooms improvements have been slim to none. 

In the girl’s bathroom by the tech. wing, the only bathroom within a reasonable distance of that hall, the school screwed in some modern locks above the old broken ones. 

Not to mention in this bathroom, the handicapped stall door is bent inward and the lock is just a big hole in the door.  With it being a larger stall, it keeps any students from being able to hold the door shut while using the toilet.  Previously the other stalls did not even have working locks until, teacher (Mrs. Plankey) contacted the custodians, and they replaced the circular locks with sliders. 

The boys’ bathrooms on the Armstrong side of the school, by the tech. wing and in the choir hall, have been closed since early in the year leaving the male population only access to one bathroom, which consists of two stalls and three urinals.

None of the women’s bathrooms had menstrual hygiene products (since I have attended Neenah) until a student stepped forward to help her fellow students. 

The one bathroom with these products in the whole school is the health office, which is commonplace for students in the link, teachers, office workers, and various LGBT+ youth who do not feel safe in the gendered bathrooms. This leaves students who are on their period to wait in a line for various lengths of time causing them to be late to class and other things unless they were lucky enough to find a single pad left in another bathroom.

NHS needs to put more effort into the bathrooms the student population uses every day and work on getting more gender-neutral bathrooms in the school.

Although the bathrooms do not need to be completely remodeled making small improvements in them and fixing the stalls is a must. Also using what they have like the staff bathrooms and possibly turning those into gender-neutral bathrooms available to staff and students would help broaden Neenah lgbt+ resources.

In the next few years if the $114.9 million referendum, explained in The Post Crescent, passes and the middle school moves to this building, I am sure the future students will appreciate it as much as we will.   When building the new high school, planners should keep gender-neutral bathrooms in mind as well.

Decent bathrooms are a basic human right, and bathrooms should be available to all students at NHS. In the next few years, I hope to see improvement within the bathrooms and more discussion about gender-neutral bathrooms in the district.