So and so is a slut. Somebody else is a b****. Inappropriate drawings, Nazi symbols, racial slurs, phone numbers, explicit sexual comments and name-calling are drawn or engraved on nearly all of the stalls or walls of the bathrooms at Penn Manor High School.
The administration is frustrated trying to curb and control what many people see as increasingly personal attacks written in the bathroom stalls.
In fact, this week the girls’ bathroom in the English/social studies wing has been repainted to cover the inappropriate writing and etchings.
Already, a handful of students have started marring the freshly painted stalls.
“It got worse,” said high school principal, Phil Gale, referring to graffiti in the girls’ bathroom. He said there might be two more bathrooms in the school that could receive a similar makeover.
English teacher, Lisa May, said “It’s definitely the worst it’s ever been. There is bullying and targeting of specific girls.”
She said she is embarrassed when adult guests come to the school, referring to senior citizens who recently came to see the school play and used bathrooms that were riddled with graffiti.
“This is not a reflection of our school,” she said.
The students have been writing on the stalls and walls using pens and sharpies. They have also been using sharp objects to carve what they have to say on the stalls in black paint.
The custodial staff said they tried covering the stalls this year with black paint so markers and pencil wouldn’t show. But as always, determined kids found a way to deface the surface.
“We’re disappointed,” said assistant high school principal, Jason D’Amico, “As long as there’s been bathrooms, there’s been writing on the walls. But this has been more in the extreme and I think enough is enough.”
Those who have been victims of the graffiti would agree.
Junior Taylor Smith, said when she was a freshman someone used her name and called her a “slut” on a bathroom stall.
“Its retarded,” said Smith of the bathroom comments. “People just need to get a life.”
Fellow junior, Allana Herr, agrees, “It’s catty, ignorant and immature. There’s nothing that can be done because you can’t put cameras in the bathrooms and all the speeches they give don’t work.”
In the past, students have gone so far as to burn the toilet roll dispensers with lighters.
Dean of students, Eric Howe, is disappointed with the increasing graffiti. “I think it’s immature and inappropriate,” he said.
The writings in the stalls do not really differentiate by the wing in the school but the writing is different between the girls’ and the boy’s bathrooms in each wing.
The writing in the girls’ bathroom stalls tends to be mostly focused on name-calling and explicit accusations of what some girls have done with others. The boys’ bathrooms have mostly racial and sexual comments, but not as much about specific people.
Even attempts to paint a bathroom in bright artistic scenes, like the ones students painted on the stalls of the bathroom in the language wing have been defaced.
Between the beautiful swirls of paint, some students have written indictments of students they accuse of engaging in specific acts, they link students to drug use and even make desperate comments about themselves such as “I take 3 L’s to the head! Live love life and boom I’m dead.”
Although the graffiti is aimed at students, the people that really have to pay for it are the janitors. When a janitor gets a call about offensive writing on the walls, they have to stop what they are doing and clean up the graffiti.
John Wealand, school custodian for 14 years, thinks that when a student sees something on the walls, they should report it immediately. If the graffiti is reported, it can be cleaned and the process can begin to find the student that did it, said Wealand.
Assistant principal Doug Eby agrees there is only one way to stop it.
“It’s important for students to report it,” Eby said.
By: Patrick Miller