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Taft Today

Taft Today

Students Fight For Mirrors in Taft Bathrooms

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Courtesy of reporter.

Taft removed mirrors from the girls and boys bathrooms due to students spending too much time in the bathrooms, being late to class, and mistreating the bathroom passes. However, with the addition of the new bathroom policy where students have to scan their IDs for the bathroom, many students want to receive mirrors back in the bathroom as a compromise.

The Student Voice Committee met with administrators, Assistant Principal Patrick Levins, and Principal Mark Grishaber to discuss the issues about the bathrooms, and it has been confirmed that mirrors will be returning to the school bathrooms.

Assistant Principal Patrick Levins, who has been at Taft for over 20 years, said, “We met with the Student Voice Committee and had a simple discussion- we’re willing to give the students a second chance since they stated how they are able to handle it. Currently, we are looking for a more durable option to the mirrors.”

Levins continued, “If we find the students can’t handle it the mirrors will be removed again.  The mirrors were removed for two reasons. One, mirrors were being damaged. Two, the security guards were struggling to get people out of the bathrooms and send them to class; there was too much commingling in the bathrooms.”

“We not only want a safe environment but a welcoming one, and if the student body wants to take accountability we are more than willing to listen and discuss better options,” said Levins. 

Natalya Miner, a senior at Taft and President of the Student Voice Committee discussed the role of the Student Voice Committee and their part in helping get mirrors back in the Taft bathrooms. 

“The discussion with Mr. Levins and Mr. Grishaber went well, they definitely had their own opinions and we had ours but it was nice to get perspectives from a policy standpoint; it was a collaborative and holistic sharing of information and ideas,” said Miner. 

The way the Student Voice Committee works is by receiving comments and or complaints from students and from their members of the Student Voice Committee listen to the student voice and email staff members to form a meeting to discuss the matters at hand and to reach a possible solution. They meet in room 153, every Monday from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Multiple students complained about the mirrors missing from the bathrooms, “ We want to have people feel comfortable and confident about themselves at Taft, and mirrors allow students to look at themselves and make sure they look good. It also benefits students who wear hijabs- we received a lot of complaints from students who wear hijabs who were not able to fix them in the bathrooms,” said Miner. 

Once mirrors are returned to the students it’s up to them to care for them, people shouldn’t vandalize the mirrors with homophobic, racist or hateful messages especially in a school environment. It was one of the main factors in them getting taken away in the first place, said Miner.

Taft Math teacher Claudia Arjona shared her thoughts on students’ use of the bathroom pass and students speaking up for themselves. “As a teacher, I fully support and encourage students advocating for changes at school. It is important for students to have a voice and be actively involved in shaping their educational experience,” she said.

Arjona continued, “By voicing their concerns, students can bring attention to issues that need to be addressed, promote inclusivity and diversity, and contribute to a positive environment. Student advocacy also teaches leadership skills and civic engagement, which are qualities we value at Taft as we push to educate global citizens to create a better world.”

Arjona went on to discuss how it’s important for teachers and administrators to listen to the student voice, by stating “Students are the ones directly experiencing the educational environment and they have unique points of view. By listening to students, administrators and teachers can gain a better understanding of their needs, concerns, and ideas for improvement. On top of that, listening to the student voice encourages a sense of empowerment.”

As for the issues with the bathroom situation, Arjona stated that she has noticed students tend to mistreat the bathroom pass to go and talk to their friends or walk that halls, however she went on to state how it’s important to have students hold each other accountable. In addition, she added that there should be more security around to better monitor the bathroom situation, even though they are working hard they need more help.

“Overall, I am excited and proud to hear that the student voice committee is making changes.  I encourage all students to come together and be the differences they want to see,” said Arjona.

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About the Contributor
Cassie Nowik, Reporter