Toilet Talk Goes Too Far

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.

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Photo by: Lyta Ringo

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.

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Photo by: Lyta Ringo

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.”

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Photo by: Lyta Ringo

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

Comments

  1. I think this method of writing on random objects is completely, and undeniably unacceptable. The ‘artist’ may be expressing their opinions on matters in life, but it damaging school property and corrupting the minds of innocent students. I must admit that it is sometime fun to read the writings and guess who did it, what it means, and laugh at the placement.

    Your friendly neighborhood troll, Annon.
    (Whoever is stealing my name should stop it.) :c

  2. maybe we should cover the bathroom stalls with paper… then it could just be ripped off. Although i think it’s pretty funny when you go into this one in the english wing that had a huge sybol of the cross and it said that jesus loves you… like really? did jesus tell you to deface public property? Nice message but it ruins the paint job that other people had to spend time on. not cool. 🙁

  3. I don’t see the big deal. If the sign out system in the classrooms were actually used as intended, then the offenders would easily be caught. Maybe the reason that the bathrooms look like this is because noone cares! Besides the teachers, who actually walks into the bathroom and says, “Oh god, i can’t use this bathroom anymore because of some slurs!” Big deal, it’s been happening for years, and its not going to stop.

    (a portion of this comment was deleted by the editors)

  4. Angeleka DeJesus says:

    Wow I can’t believe people in high school still do stuff like this. You would expect it maybe in middle school but not at the high.Who really takes the time to go write on the bathroom walls or even takes the time too sit there && Read it. I think people need to grow up, even tho we know it not going to happen. Things like this is why girls fight,are always so depress && have so much DRAMA!!!

  5. I agree completely with this article and after hard thinking there is no legitimate way to solve the problem. Overall, the problem will never go away unless people grow up.

  6. I really do not thing it has anything to do with “growing up”. What is that suppose to mean anyways? we are growing, and learning everyday so we are “growing up”. I just think that kids want to see like they are “bad” and are jealous and love to just talk about people. Yeah its immature and stupid but some people don’t think of it that way and just don’t care at all. Kids will keep writing on walls. I believe that the more force you use the more they are gonna do it and ruin the stalls.
    Maybe we should do what Tori said and use paper or in the “graffiti gossip” article and use paint chalk.
    I truly believe that what ever you do kids will still find a way to get around it Or maybe they wont.

  7. I think what they mean by “grow up” is, you are all young adults, and as funny as it may seem, it is vandalism. You wouldn’t write on the walls of your bathroom at home would you? You should know right from wrong at your age, and yes, you are growing up and learning…but you should also know what vandalism is by the time you reach high school….and know it’s wrong! Treat things that don’t belong to you with as much respect as you would treat your own possesions…or things in your own home…it will take you far in life.