Lack of Locker Room Inconveniences Students

Photo by Awa Sow

Photo by Awa Sow

By ALEX-SANDRA KUHTE

Deondra McDowell, junior, pushed her way through the girls bathroom door, where she squeezed between over a dozen girls and waited for one of four stalls to become available so she could change for her last period physical education class.

After she finally got to change and go downstairs to the gym, she was five minutes late for class.

McDowell dreads having to go through this process on a daily basis because “it can be overcrowded and unsanitary.” She adds, “It does not make you want to change because it is so uncomfortable.”

Like McDowell, all students are required to change before physical education classes in order to get full credit for the day.

While the boys had a locker room until mid-year, girls have not had access to a locker room for four years. As a result, girls must change in the bathrooms on the third floor before walking down to the first floor gym.

One major problem is that there are other girls in the bathroom who are taking up space by talking and occupying the bathroom stalls, which physical education students are waiting for in order to change.

“Since not everyone is in a rush to get to their next class, it often makes you run late to gym because you’re only given two minutes for the transition phase, which does not include the process of changing,” said McDowell.

Principal Salzberg insists that accommodations have been made to ensure students can change and get to class on time.

“Physical education teachers know the locker rooms are closed and build time into their class during the day for students to use restrooms for changing,” said Ms. Salzberg.

“Zero and first period students are expected to arrive dressed for PE class and are released with time to change before their next class; students with PE in the middle of the day are expected to dress before arriving in the gym and the class schedule allows for this,” she added.

Mr. Berger, who teaches physical education, agreed with Ms. Salzberg; he said he starts class seven minutes into the period and releases students five minutes early to give them time to change.

Although this system seems reasonable, the reality is that it’s very difficult for girls to change and make it to the gym on time. Some teachers end class later than others, cutting into the passing time.

Ms. Salzberg explained that the Brandeis Campus has been unable to afford full-time staffing of the locker rooms, and as a safety precaution, administration officials decided to close the boys’ locker room.

However, boys were never monitored on a full-time basis while changing in their locker room.

Instead, male teachers would check in on them intermittently.

“It’s impossible to be in two places at once,” said Mr. Berger. “I would be in and out.”

Girls at FMHS have proven that they do not need to be monitored in the locker room. There have not been many serious disciplinary incidents in the girls bathroom, unlike the misbehavior that has occurred in the boys’ bathroom.

I believe that our campus should find the funds to hire an aide who can monitor students in the girls locker room so that girls can have a trial run.

Junior Theresa O’Connor agrees. “Maybe we can have a fundraiser in order to gain money for the locker room,” she said. “It would be beneficial and also less time-consuming [for all students].”

Students deserve to be able to change in locker rooms, and we have to work together to make that happen at FMHS.