- Vandalism in Mahanoy Area High School boys' bathrooms has resulted in toilet paper being issued by request as needed, a policy that one parent believes is embarrassing for students.
Karen Yedsena, Mahanoy City, spoke during the public portion of Thursday's school board meeting, asking about the policy.
"I'm asking about the high school and why the boys are not allowed to have toilet paper except if they go to the nurse or the office to get it," Yedsena said.
The boys' bathrooms in the high school do not have toilet paper due to vandalism. Any boy needing the bathroom tissue must ask for it and sign it out.
High school Principal Thomas Smith said it was a solution to a major problem.
"We've had serious destruction to our bathrooms for the past two years," Smith said. "We have a case pending with the police where a bathroom down by our gymnasium was absolutely destroyed. I'm sure Mr. (Robert) Pastucha (district facilities director) could tell you the times that our toilets have been jammed with toilet paper and other papers. And after we took the toilet tissue out of there, people were throwing books. It was our way to try to curb the destruction in the bathrooms."
Smith explained the procedure in getting the toilet tissue.
"Our policy is that if you need toilet paper, you would come to the office. We're not refusing anyone toilet paper," Smith said. "You would sign out and then sign back in. I randomly go in to check if anything is going on. Since we've done that, we've cut down on the destruction."
Yedsena said there are students who have been embarrassed to go to the office for toilet paper and instead would go to the nurse saying they're not feeling well and go home instead. Thomas said he was unaware of any such problem from the monthly reports from the nurse.
"I think it's been pretty much accepted," Superintendent Joie Green said.
"Well, it's not," Yedsena said.
Yedsena also asked about the restrictions that students can only go to the bathroom during the first five minutes of a class.
"We're cutting down on people walking through the hallways for no reason," Green said. "What we're trying to do, is that they're going to the bathroom at the beginning and end of class."
Yedsena asked if the toilet paper policy could be changed, to which Smith said it could.
"I'm not against putting toilet paper back in (the boys' bathrooms). I could do that but if there's destruction to the bathroom, then it would go back to my policy," Smith said. "We had the policy last year, but at the beginning of this year, it was destroyed in the first day. I made warnings, talked to students, talked to class presidents to talk to their students and student body.
"I agree with you that it's a drastic measure," Smith said.
Board member Julie Fazio asked Yedsena, "What happens if we put the toilet paper back in the bathroom and your son is in the bathroom and two other kids come in and destroy the bathroom? And then we find out your child was in bathroom at that time?"
The policy is set by Smith as principal of the high school. The elementary and middle schools do not have a similar policy.
"I'm willing to communicate with anybody," Smith said. "I'm willing to put the toilet paper back, but if the bathroom is destroyed, it will be removed."