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What’s the deal with school bathrooms?


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I attended a high school a year ago and we had 2000+ plus students, yet I feel like that’s no excuse to have 20+ restrooms in the school. Now I may sound like a whiny pervert, but I have my reasons to complain: both personally and just through my experiences with the restrooms.

First off, 90% of the time I didn’t  even pee at the school, I really just don’t have to go enough to tend to my needs at school. When I did though, there was no one there. Now this may have been a different case for the girls bathroom, considering I had never been in there (I’m sure you can guess why). I really doubt it though, because I never saw girls crowded at the door in a line.

Now there is a reason why I write this, there was a discussion post about this, and I felt that when I was replying that I reiterate some stuff and further fledge out my thoughts on this, because my old school, in my opinion, was wasting money. (On a side note, their water fountains never were on either because of lead issues, it’s kinda like they were omopbobes lol). I’m going to give an example based on the layout of my old school. We have two sections in the school: the regular section and the freshman academy. Incoming freshmen usually have about 4 to 6 out of 7 in that freshman academy and there are only 2 sets of bathrooms in it, a realistic number in my opinion (not biased at all 😉).

The rest of the school is a different story however, with 18 bathrooms stemmed across the main school. Over the span of 7 classrooms there are 2 sets of boy and girl restrooms. That to me seems like overkill. There are two different sets in the gymnasium as well. There are 3 in the math section and you don’t have to know calculus to know that’s way too much. And then the rest of the school has bathrooms spread across everywhere. Now, bathrooms are regularly shut down and there’s a reason for this that I will tap into later, but I’d like to quickly simulate this and give an example of just how easy it is to get to the bathroom. Room 504, Math room, Lea has to go pee. This would usually be an issue but if she walks literally 10 meters and she’s at the bathroom. Here’s the thing as well, that’s one of the farthest distances you have to walk when it comes to the main school. Even if that bathroom is packed to full by some 1/100 odds she can just walk another 50 or so meters to the next bathroom. There is one thing that the students did control in the school: bathroom shutdowns.

If you have ever heard about the disciplinary system in Midwest America: it’s terrible. That’s why stuff gets shut down. 2016: freshman year, some idiot eats a ghost pepper in the lunch bathroom and gets carted out on a stretcher with his shirt off, bathroom for some reason is shut down. Also 2016: some girl goes and juuls in front of a bathroom camera. Now wait, you might say, your school had cameras in the bathrooms, that’s creepy. Well thank people like that boy and girl for that. There’s too many instances when I’ve walked by the boys bathroom and smelled smoke, too many times. I’ve heard too many stories about bathrooms juulings. There is one more thing that happened last year, but I can’t say it because it might offend people and is breaking the rules of not just this site, but also the law, so I’ll refrain from saying this.

I must question people reading this though: am I being too over dramatic or is 20 to 2000 a bad ratio for bathrooms to people? I’ve heard of people who have had schools with a 1 to 250 ratio, and that’s bad. Like, really bad. I’ll leave it to you people to discuss. Thanks for reading once again my friends.

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This might apply more to rest rooms for males than for females.  In my experience, the high school boys' rooms almost never had all the urinals/toilets in use at the same time, though this is probably not true for the girls' room.  There's a good reason for having twice as many fixtures for females than for males - males pee quicker.  

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"I attended a high school a year ago and we had 2000+ plus students, yet I feel like that’s no excuse to have 20+ restrooms in the school. Now I may sound like a whiny pervert, but I have my reasons to complain: both personally and just through my experiences with the restrooms.

The rest of the school is a different story however, with 18 bathrooms stemmed across the main school. Over the span of 7 classrooms there are 2 sets of boy and girl restrooms. That to me seems like overkill. There are two different sets in the gymnasium as well. There are 3 in the math section and you don’t have to know calculus to know that’s way too much. And then the rest of the school has bathrooms spread across everywhere.

I must question people reading this though: am I being too over dramatic or is 20 to 2000 a bad ratio for bathrooms to people? I’ve heard of people who have had schools with a 1 to 250 ratio, and that’s bad. Like, really bad. I’ll leave it to you people to discuss. Thanks for reading once again my friends."

I have to admit reading these involuntarily made me start crossing my legs as I remembered my high school, because reading this I can say that you lived in bathroom paradise where as I lived in bathroom hell where because they found drugs and alcohol in the girls bathroom they closed all but one of the girls bathrooms, so you had five stalls for about 750 girls, so about a 150 to 1 ratio, meaning that most of the girls were holding it all day and never got a chance to go to the bathroom, and when you did go there was usually an enormous line. Basically it resulted in me having to hold it until lunch pretty much every day for the last two years of school. And the thing that really rubs salt in the wounds was the fact that all of the boys bathrooms were open, so the boys had like 30 places to go to the bathroom between stalls and urinals and never had the slightest wait! So just to be lucky that you are complaining about too many bathrooms rather than nowhere near enough!

 

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14 hours ago, Mandymom said:

I agree, way too many bathrooms! Waste of perfectly good space for other types of rooms. Being always 10 meters from a bathroom? Ridiculous. Cameras in the bathrooms? Sounds rather illegal to me, or at least a privacy violation.

Yeah, cameras in the bathrooms is a big no-no, legally speaking.  Anyone at that school could likely now sue and receive a substantial payout.

The supreme court, not that long ago, addressed a very similar case.

Generally speaking, surveillance is legal as long as it doesn't infringe on an individuals right to privacy.  Public cameras are okay, as long as they are in an area where a person couldn't have any "reasonable expectation of privacy" to begin with.  However, there are certain areas that the courts have recognized that do have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and one of these areas is in the bathroom.

Schools have authority of their students, and they can issue disciplinary action.  So, many of the same rules that apply to law enforcement also apply to schools.  And the same rights a person has in dealing with law enforcement also apply to schools.  Your right to not be subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, for example, doesn't just apply to law enforcement, but also applies to school officials or anyone else.  It is a universal right.

For a school to violate a student's expectation of privacy in the bathroom, they need to have probable cause.

The recent supreme court case I mentioned dealt with this very question.  In the supreme court case a school's principal gave a presentation to a group of girls, and then discovered an item missing from her purse.  The principle was certain one of the girls must have taken it, and thus ordered the girls be strip searched by the school nurse.  The girls were not allowed to contact their parents before this search, and were given no way to decline.

The school argued they had probable cause to conduct the search- The principal knew the item went missing in the course of this presentation, thus concluding one of the girls must have taken it.  Thus there was a probable cause.  However, the court ultimately found that this wasn't enough.  There would have needed to have been some specific reason to suspect each individual girl searched.  With no specific cause to suspect any one individual, the group search of all the girls was found to be unconstitutionally broad.  Further, the court found that the girls were denied their constitutional right to legal representation.

There are many legal parallels in this case, and the situation the OP described.  Courts already recognize that there is a legal expectation to privacy in the bathroom.  So, having cameras in the bathroom would violate that expectation of privacy.  To violate an expectation of privacy, you need specific probable cause.  The OP stated that a single girl was caught "juuling" and that this was the reason for the privacy violation.  However, as the supreme court found, the fact that something happened isn't enough of a reason to suspect that every single user of the bathroom is engaged in the same illicit activity, and thus have their expectation of privacy violated.

18 hours ago, Redboi said:

I attended a high school a year ago and we had 2000+ plus students, yet I feel like that’s no excuse to have 20+ restrooms in the school. Now I may sound like a whiny pervert, but I have my reasons to complain: both personally and just through my experiences with the restrooms.

First off, 90% of the time I didn’t  even pee at the school, I really just don’t have to go enough to tend to my needs at school. When I did though, there was no one there. Now this may have been a different case for the girls bathroom, considering I had never been in there (I’m sure you can guess why). I really doubt it though, because I never saw girls crowded at the door in a line.

Now there is a reason why I write this, there was a discussion post about this, and I felt that when I was replying that I reiterate some stuff and further fledge out my thoughts on this, because my old school, in my opinion, was wasting money. (On a side note, their water fountains never were on either because of lead issues, it’s kinda like they were omopbobes lol). I’m going to give an example based on the layout of my old school. We have two sections in the school: the regular section and the freshman academy. Incoming freshmen usually have about 4 to 6 out of 7 in that freshman academy and there are only 2 sets of bathrooms in it, a realistic number in my opinion (not biased at all 😉).

The rest of the school is a different story however, with 18 bathrooms stemmed across the main school. Over the span of 7 classrooms there are 2 sets of boy and girl restrooms. That to me seems like overkill. There are two different sets in the gymnasium as well. There are 3 in the math section and you don’t have to know calculus to know that’s way too much. And then the rest of the school has bathrooms spread across everywhere. Now, bathrooms are regularly shut down and there’s a reason for this that I will tap into later, but I’d like to quickly simulate this and give an example of just how easy it is to get to the bathroom. Room 504, Math room, Lea has to go pee. This would usually be an issue but if she walks literally 10 meters and she’s at the bathroom. Here’s the thing as well, that’s one of the farthest distances you have to walk when it comes to the main school. Even if that bathroom is packed to full by some 1/100 odds she can just walk another 50 or so meters to the next bathroom. There is one thing that the students did control in the school: bathroom shutdowns.

If you have ever heard about the disciplinary system in Midwest America: it’s terrible. That’s why stuff gets shut down. 2016: freshman year, some idiot eats a ghost pepper in the lunch bathroom and gets carted out on a stretcher with his shirt off, bathroom for some reason is shut down. Also 2016: some girl goes and juuls in front of a bathroom camera. Now wait, you might say, your school had cameras in the bathrooms, that’s creepy. Well thank people like that boy and girl for that. There’s too many instances when I’ve walked by the boys bathroom and smelled smoke, too many times. I’ve heard too many stories about bathrooms juulings. There is one more thing that happened last year, but I can’t say it because it might offend people and is breaking the rules of not just this site, but also the law, so I’ll refrain from saying this.

I must question people reading this though: am I being too over dramatic or is 20 to 2000 a bad ratio for bathrooms to people? I’ve heard of people who have had schools with a 1 to 250 ratio, and that’s bad. Like, really bad. I’ll leave it to you people to discuss. Thanks for reading once again my friends.

The number of bathrooms in a facility is governed by building codes, fire safety codes, and ADA regulations.  My guess would be that the number of bathrooms present in your school were to comply with these laws, or in anticipation of possible future regulations.

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@TVGuy

"The recent supreme court case I mentioned dealt with this very question.  In the supreme court case a school's principal gave a presentation to a group of girls, and then discovered an item missing from her purse.  The principle was certain one of the girls must have taken it, and thus ordered the girls be strip searched by the school nurse.  The girls were not allowed to contact their parents before this search, and were given no way to decline."

This reminds me of the movie Compliance, which was based on a true story. Basically you have this guy who called the a fast food restaurant pretending to be a police officer and said that this one girl stole something from somebody's purse and that he needed the employees to conduct a strip search on the girl. They eventually had to strip naked and made her perform all sorts of things like naked jumping jacks and having people spank her to see if she had the stolen money on her. After being subjected to all of this they later realized the guy wasn't a cop and that he was pranking them, but the thing was that she and everyone in the restaurant went along with it because they were blindly obedient to be authority even though he was making them do things that common sense would have told them made no sense. The point of the movie was that most people don't know what their basic rights are, so if ordered to strip by an authority figure, they will do so without thinking and that most people will comply without realizing that their rights were being violated.

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No cameras in the bathrooms at my school, but after some idiot caused a fire by smoking illegal drugs and then dumping the lit butt in the trash, so they installed cameras to monitor the entrances, and supposedly removed the stall doors from the boys' restrooms.

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Well schools have a lot of bathrooms with a large numbers of urinals' and stalls compared to other places that hold a lot of people because there is not much time between classes and by the time you change books and go from one class to the next you only have a minute to pee so they have to have enough slots that everyone that needs to go can go at the same time with no waiting in line. usually if they are going to the bathroom at school they either drank a lot of water in class. or had to rush to get the bus in the morning so no time to go, or other family members were in the bathroom so they had to wait until they got to school, and since their bladder was so full it could easily take a minute to pee by the time the stream slowed down. started up, slowed down again a few times before they was done. You could not run to make it to class on time, they made you go back and walk the distance again even if it made you late for class then you had to go to the vice principal for a late slip and detention. so you could not wait in line to pee, then sprint to class to get to class on time. you was forced to slow walk to class. you were made to slow walk the distance again even if you was just walking really fast. Most just learned to hold it until after school. after school fights were always intense on a full bladder. in the movie compliance the workers at the fast food place should had known it was a scam as the rule is they have to use a female police officer to search females especially in a strip search. 

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I actually disagree. While yes, there hasn't been many cases where there are lines outside of the bathroom, it was pretty common to find lines inside the bathroom in my school. Not long - just a couple people outside the stalls -  but its not an insignificant number when you need to be done with your business and back in 5 minutes. Sections of concentrated classrooms need to deal with massive, sudden influx of students while areas like the cafe or the musical rooms are too far to not place a bathroom. Thus increasing counts. 

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9 hours ago, TVGuy said:

Generally speaking, surveillance is legal as long as it doesn't infringe on an individuals right to privacy.  Public cameras are okay, as long as they are in an area where a person couldn't have any "reasonable expectation of privacy" to begin with.  However, there are certain areas that the courts have recognized that do have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and one of these areas is in the bathroom.

...

For a school to violate a student's expectation of privacy in the bathroom, they need to have probable cause.

I could be misremembering, but I recall something where the right to privacy applied mostly to the stalls themselves and not the more common space near the sinks. I would imagine a camera would be situated in such a way to see who goes in what stall, and see any possible smoke rise above that stall, but definitely not see the person in there. 

And side note: my work has a sign in the bathroom that says something along the lines of no vandalism, it is being monitored. I’m assuming it means the entrance to the bathroom has a camera. But it makes me question, if they had a sign like “you’re on camera” would that then not infringe on an expectation of privacy since it directly informs you that the common space has no privacy?

I definitely disagree with the policy, as there are likely other ways to handle the situation, such as smoke alarms or hall/bathroom monitor people. 

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41 minutes ago, Drakon said:

I could be misremembering, but I recall something where the right to privacy applied mostly to the stalls themselves and not the more common space near the sinks. I would imagine a camera would be situated in such a way to see who goes in what stall, and see any possible smoke rise above that stall, but definitely not see the person in there. 

And side note: my work has a sign in the bathroom that says something along the lines of no vandalism, it is being monitored. I’m assuming it means the entrance to the bathroom has a camera. But it makes me question, if they had a sign like “you’re on camera” would that then not infringe on an expectation of privacy since it directly informs you that the common space has no privacy?

I definitely disagree with the policy, as there are likely other ways to handle the situation, such as smoke alarms or hall/bathroom monitor people. 

Where exactly a "reasonable expectation of privacy" applies has always been contested on a legal level.  After all, this concept is the least defined when it comes to such laws and regulations, and thus is the most likely concept to be contested.  Because of that, however, there is a good amount of case law established by the courts regarding the concept of reasonable expectation of privacy.  There are definitely gray areas and areas that still are not entirely settled, like what kind of expectation of privacy you have in a vehicle, and how that might change if the vehicle is parked vs. in motion vs. being some kind of camping vehicle, or if it applies to audio recordings.

It has been fairly universal, though, that this reasonable expectation of privacy applies to bathrooms, locker rooms, and one's own home.

Now, the hypothetical situation you bring up is interesting, if they put up a sign saying, "This bathroom is being monitored by cameras, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in this bathroom."  The legal question would then be is that sign enough?  Is it visible enough, do people actually notice it? Or are people so conditioned to having privacy in a bathroom that a simple sign isn't enough to provide adequate notice.  There isn't a clear answer here, and it would be up to a court to parse the specific details in such a case, and it could come down to very minute details of that exact situation.

Such a sign, or other notice, likely wouldn't change anything in a school setting.  In first amendment cases involving schools and student rights, the courts have found that students can not be compelled by the school to voluntarily surrender their constitutional rights.  Students are compelled, legally, to go to school.  There is no choice there.  And they have the right, while at school, to be able to use a bathroom with a reasonable expectation of privacy.  As such, a school likely couldn't simply inform students that they no longer have that expectation of privacy, just like in the first amendment cases schools can't simply suspend their student's rights to free speech and free expression.

Students have a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the bathroom, and they can not be compelled by the school to surrender that right for any reason.

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One high school that I know of has no doors to the rest rooms.  There is simply a wall that blocks the view from the corridor, but it doesn't block sound or smoke.  I understand that this has at least reduced problems and vandalism.  

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