Most are probably aware of Principal Newman’s recently implemented policy to tackle ongoing vandalism and the vaping epidemic. With this policy in action, male students are only allowed to use bathrooms on the first, fourth, and seventh floor during class time. In addition to students signing in and out, they must also bring with them a pass and their ID. No one can deny that Brooklyn Tech is facing a major problem with racism, graffiti, and vaping. In fact, most high schools do. By creating and enforcing this policy, Newman shows his willingness to take action. However, his system was a poor attempt to combat those problems. It only took two days for this system to be uplifted, and it’s pretty clear as to why.
It’s quite obvious that many students and faculty find this problematic. Three bathrooms can’t possibly sustain the three thousand students that make up Tech’s male population. With only three bathrooms in use, as well as a limited time frame to use it, people have spent as long as 15 minutes using the bathroom. To put that into perspective, that’s one-third of a class period. Newman justifies this inconvenience by stating the increase in security measures.“I just didn’t have seven people to sit outside the bathrooms, so I condensed the bathrooms so I could monitor them.” This increase in security doesn’t seem that effective. People still Juul and the bathrooms continue to be vandalized. And these are ruining bathrooms for the entire school. It’s really unfair that every male student at Tech should suffer from the actions of a select few. If students use bathrooms for what it’s meant to be used for, there wouldn’t be a problem. Brooklyn Tech treats its bathrooms as a privilege.
Some students are also upset with Principal Newman’s lack of communication. Students and even teachers were notified of this policy the day before coming back from Regents week and were caught off guard. Some students weren’t even aware of the racist vandalism occurring. It would have been wise to address students and faculty before implementing a policy seemingly out of nowhere. A Town-Hall meeting could have been held to discuss problems, and offer potential solutions. A single person shouldn’t be able to decide what’s best for everybody. Implementing a policy the way he did seemed unprofessional.
“This school is in a tough place because for the boy’s bathroom, teachers aren’t allowed there, and it’s an unsupervised area. And when you have a school of 6,000 students and one kid’s doing something dumb, it sucks that the school has to punish everybody else. At the same time, the school has to keep everybody safe,” said Kay Sirianni, a forensics teacher in Tech. Tech is in a difficult situation because creating policies will be problematic and keeping things the way it is will lead to a lack of change. The failure of this policy is a good stepping stone to learn from.