Signs of Urban Decay in Harriton Restrooms

Carly Scher, Staff Writer

With our new and improved school came new and improved restrooms. These restrooms happen to be extremely nice and high-tech, featuring automatic sinks and toilets, both of which are great—when they work. There are plenty of times when they do not work, and in fact, way more than there should be, especially in such a new school.

It feels as though an overwhelming number of the restrooms—toilets, sinks, and urinals—at Harriton are always broken. And to top it off, when one is broken, it remains out of order for quite some time. This inconvenience is an aggravation that every student shares. It seems that Moaning Myrtle has left Hogwarts and found herself some new bathrooms to haunt at our school.

Everyone has had that moment when they cursed the sink that wasn’t turning on. Adjoa Mante, grade 11, says of Harriton bathrooms, “They are a blessing and a curse. The automatic sinks and toilets are convenient, but there is at least one sink in every girl’s bathroom that never works.” Her feelings are shared by a majority of the students at Harriton.
There are several sinks throughout the school that just do not work at all. You find yourself walking up to a sink and waiting there wondering why no water is flowing out until you finally realize that it is never going to turn on. For some, this has happened so many times that it is just an accepted fact—“Oh, that’s one of the sinks that doesn’t work.” There is one sink in the first floor girl’s restroom near the cafeteria that has been broken since the new school opened in 2009. It is now 2012, and not a single drop of water has left that faucet for 3 years.

There are many other sinks spread out across each floor that are in a similar condition, boys’ and girls’ bathrooms alike. This can be very annoying at times. There are three other sinks in the bathroom, but why shouldn’t you be able to use the fourth? Why should a new sink in a school that is barely three years old be broken? And why for so long has it not come to the attention of administration? Similarly, one of the toilets in the girl’s locker room was broken for a long time (about 2 years). This was highly inconvenient during sport seasons; the locker room can get hectic. When there are a lot of girls in there, the toilets are in high demand. So when one of the four toilets broke, the long line of girls waiting for a bathroom was made even longer.

It took two years for this toilet to get fixed. Until that time, a dirty orange cone sat on top of it, a depressing sign to a girl opening the door with hope, telling her, “Forget it, this toilet is useless, it’s a lost cause.” Why did it take so long for this toilet to get fixed?

The cause could be from inappropriate use by the students of Harriton. This is not an unreasonable assumption to make, since Harriton students as a group have proven to be less than proficient at taking care of facilities (e.g. the JSL with cleanup and the cafeteria with getting food from the plate to the mouth). The paper towel dispenser could easily be broken by rough treatment, but automatic sinks would appear to be more difficult and less prone to break. If it is the case, then Harriton administration could notify the student body in general and let the chips fall where they may, but leaving signs of decay around the school helps no one.

This is the looming question that, along with many others such ones about broken facilities, we all want an answer. However, what we want even more than an answer is for our bathrooms to be fixed and hopefully stay that way. The unusable sink, toilet, and urinal annoyance is getting old. A school barely three years old should be able to hold up. Although we may enjoy her company at Harriton, someone needs to send Myrtle back to Hogwarts for good so we can get our bathrooms working again and keep them in working order!