Different perspectives on bathroom passes on campus

Story by Eliana Merck, Editor-in-Chief

Placer High School requires students to take a bathroom pass with them when using the bathroom during a class period. Bathroom passes serve the purpose of tracking students when they’re using the restroom, and to perhaps help decrease the amount of vandalism or vaping in bathroom stalls, but are they actually effective in doing their job? Do they create more issues than solve them?

Bathroom passes serve the purpose of tracking students who leave and return to classrooms. Ceramics teacher Katy Fries states, “I feel that the bathroom passes were created to prevent groups of people misbehaving in the bathrooms.  I think that it is an attempt to encourage respectful behavior in the classroom, giving the students who are not fully bought-into the respectful student behaviors a chance to get permission before leaving a classroom. If you have the pass, your wandering is at least something a teacher is aware of.” This tracking of students can be helpful during a crisis in which the teacher needs to be informed of the safety of all of their students.

Sure, the bathroom passes may keep a teacher aware of where their students are, but do they help to decrease the amount of roaming students on campus? Graphic Design teacher Don Isbell states, “I agree that the passes do help with roaming. All students know by now that a pass is needed to leave a classroom. If someone is without, it is a red flag.” But couldn’t students use these passes just to get out of class and claim that they are simply on their way to use the restroom? Some students have left classrooms for long periods of time, leaving remaining students  in the classroom waiting for the passes to be returned so that they may relieve themselves. Senior Alyssa Gross states, “I have not been able to use the restroom multiple times because both of the passes are gone for a while.” 

In addition, students are grossed out by the passes themselves. “I’ll wait until lunch to go to the bathroom to avoid using the passes, even if I really need to go.” says Junior Penelope Faudree. Keeping these bathroom passes clean when using the restroom can be near impossible, considering that some students don’t even wash their hands after relieving themselves. According to a study done by microbiologist, Jack Gilbert, it was found that 500,000 bacterial cells lived on each square inch of surfaces in a bathroom. Said bacteria can travel even faster from student to student with these bathroom passes, potentially increasing the amount of sick students at school.  

Bathroom passes have their pros and cons, and some people like them and others don’t. Perhaps this policy deserves a second look.