USA: stricter school policies to reduce vaping
The administration at a school in Stillwater, Oklahoma, has just made a radical decision: lock the bathrooms with a key to prevent vandalism as well as teenagers from vaping in secret.
An Instagram page titled “Let Us Pee” was created as a way to protest. The page’s humorous name is obviously meant to contest the new policy in hopes that the school may re-open access to public restrooms. The banner image, a fist holding up a roll of toilet paper with the words “Free to Pee,” is probably not going to become a global social movement. However, the page did launch a survey as well as a petition, including a freestyle rap song that is a peaceful way for students to show their discontent with what they believe to be an absurd idea.
A common strategy
School director Rob Bach admitted that he did not expect such a major backlash from the student body. He added that this is not the first time that the school has blocked access to its public restrooms for similar reasons. In addition, only 6 out of the school’s 14 restrooms are affected, and only during course hours.
Rowan Bell-Myers, a student, has said on the Instagram page that this new strategy will not resolve the issue of vaping. According to him, this is simply a question of preserving Stillwater’s reputation. Rob Bach agrees in the sense that in-school rape remains a major issue in schools throughout the United States.
The administration has taken measures to educate parents and students alike about the potential risks of using electronic cigarettes. The campus even invited a public health specialist to talk about these issues in class. However, the main reason for the bathroom closings is due to consistent reports of vandalism. The director has confirmed that the new policy will help faculty better keep an eye on the bathrooms so that everyone can use them without issue; he also said that he is open to other ideas, and hopes that they will come from the students themselves.
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