Parents and guardians of Sharon Middle High School students have taken to social media to protest a decision by Sharon schools to limit access to restrooms — a move the district says was in response to damage from vandalism.
“The restrooms are closed and each student (7 to 12) has to sign in and out at the office to use the restroom located in the office. That’s unacceptable!” Parent Beth Leo posted on the Herald’s Facebook page. She later called the school to find out more about the reasons for the closure, she added.
Superintendent Michael Calla confirmed in a text message that some of the school’s restrooms were closed.
“We did indeed limit the number of restrooms available for student use for about 30 hours because of a rash of serious vandalism that was occurring in student restrooms throughout the building,” Calla said. “Damage included broken toilets, soap dispensers ripped off of walls, graffiti that required the restrooms to be repainted, toilets stuffed with, not only toilet paper and paper towels, but notebooks and other items which caused them to need to be replaced.”
A parent called The Herald and said her senior daughter called her on Monday morning so upset about the bathroom situation that she wanted to drop out and do online school.
“I just think it’s ridiculous,” the parent said. “My daughter called me and was furious.”
She said there was one bathroom near the office that was open for the first five minutes and last five minutes of a class period.
Another parent, who said her daughter was in a classroom on the third floor of the school at the opposite end from the open bathroom, said nearly 20 minutes of class time were wasted by the time her daughter was able to finally get access to a bathroom.
Several parents also called the paper, saying that their children said restrooms have been closed for several school days — and remained closed Wednesday.
Calla said students were never denied access to a restroom.
“We just limited the locations of those restrooms so that we could repair the damage and stop the vandalism,” he said. “We are working to identify the individual or individuals involved in the vandalism and will be charging them with institutional vandalism when caught.”
Messages left for Sharon Middle High School Principal Mike Fitzgerald were not returned. Vice Principal Matt Vannoy referred all questions to Calla and Fitzgerald.
Attempts to reach Sharon School Board members were unsuccessful.