In a disturbing display of power, three Florida elementary schools removed all of the bathrooms’ toilet paper. Students who needed to use the toilet were forced to ask their teachers for a basic sanitary project.
It’s humiliating. Students should have autonomy in the bathroom; having to ask for toilet paper feels too controlling. Schools have existed for a long time, and they’ve all managed to survive without going broke because of toilet paper. The Florida schools defended their actions by claiming that students were wasting the paper.
The Carter G. Woodson Elementary School in Jacksonville refused to stock its bathrooms until outraged parents turned to the media. The resulting flurry of negative attention caused officials to rethink their terrible idea.
“The practice of not keeping toilet paper in school restrooms – as a result of misuse or waste – is not encouraged by the district. We will continue to communicate this to our schools to ensure consistency district-wide,” Duval County Public Schools spokesperson Laureen Ricks said in a statement.
“We invite parents to contact their school or the district if they have any concerns about this practice taking place in their child’s classroom or school so that we can immediately address. We also ask parents to partner with us in talking to students about appropriate bathroom etiquette and the importance of respecting school supplies and resources.”
School districts don’t need to lecture parents on bathroom etiquette. Woodson Elementary is attended by children, kids young enough to defy societal bathroom customs. Using too much toilet paper is behavior that should be corrected, but there’s no need to introduce shame.
“I did speak with the teacher about it as well. And I asked, I said, ‘What about if they run out?’ She said, ‘Well, we have a student in the bathroom that can give them extra.’ A student? A student!” Woodson Elementary parent Shantia Peterson told a local news outlet.
“You can’t just have it going from hand to hand,” added. Toilet paper that’s passed around between multiple people could easily become tainted with bacteria.
Peterson was so disgusted by the school’s policy that she enrolled her daughter in a different establishment.
“I told her, I said, ‘Your new school, they’re going to have toilet paper in the bathrooms.’ My daughter got excited. She said, ‘What, are you serious? They’re going to have toilet paper in the bathroom?’” Peterson recounted.
Parents were furious. When the story broke, it was almost too shocking to be believed. A school that doesn’t have toilet paper in its bathrooms would be more fitting in the Middle East or sub-Saharan Africa. The richest country in the world should be able to provide its students with basic bathroom supplies.
“Parents with children who come home with racing stripes in their underwear should consider sending it to school the next day, in a bag, instructing the child to give the underwear and the note to the teacher,” Facebook user Anne Clayton wrote.
Florida has some of the largest school districts in the nation, but they’re struggling. The state usually ranks toward the bottom when judged on its schools.
“Florida ranked 29th and earned a grade of C on an annual report on education... The Sunshine State’s showing was slightly better this year than last — when it was ranked as 30th in the nation… The report ranks states on several factors, including student achievement and school finances,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.
“As in years past, Florida did well on K-12 achievement, coming in 11th, but poorly in school financing, where it was ranked 45th and earned an F grade.”