Bathroom Blues (Again)


The first edition of “Bathroom Blues” appeared in this publication in February of 2014. Nearly eight years later, Hammonton High School students still face a common problem: bathroom closings.

The district is yet again presented with the crippling problem of staffing shortages. Many students are left wondering how and when this long and tedious problem will be resolved.

These problems are not specific to the Hammonton School District, as many other districts around the country are facing the same problem. Caused by the pandemic, the staffing shortage crisis has gotten out of hand fast.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 446,000 public education jobs were “open”, in June and July of 2021.  As a result of vacancy in staff, students are left wandering the hallways for multiple minutes at a time searching for an available bathroom.

Junior Hunter Valentin finds the situation frustrating.

” I think its gotten pretty ridiculous up to this point, I went to go to the bathroom in English class, and it took me five minutes just to find the only available bathroom in the entire school. For a public high school with well over one thousand students,” he said. “I think it is a necessity to have multiple bathrooms open, considering the fact that it would eliminate the long dreadful lines that are currently being formed throughout the school.”

To address this issue, the Hammonton School District Facebook page posted a job opening for a hall monitor as recently as January 11, with the following details:

  • Part time job position
  •  5.75 hours per day
  • 180 days
  • $ 13.00 per hour

Fewer hall monitors means that fewer bathrooms are open, often overwhelming those monitoring the ones that are.

Ms. Magaly Acevedo , the hall monitor near the PAC Center, often has a tough time handling the amount of student traffic coming to her post.

She admitted that regulating the bathrooms is a challenge. A majority of the hall monitors are female, making it a difficult to manage the boys room.

“It is no secret that the kids like to vape, and do other things they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes I have to call Don, the only active male hall monitor, [Mr. Tom], or [Officer] O’Neil to deal with the boys bathroom, since I can’t go in. ”

In a effort to hopefully limit the disorderly conduct in the restrooms, the school added additional regulations to address the issue, posted on signs outside the bathroom facilities. The sign reads the follows:

“No food or drink permitted in the bathroom!!!!! No book bags are to be brought into the bathroom! Only four people are permitted to enter at a time!!”

As a result of the new limited capacity rules in the bathrooms, the lines of people waiting has noticeably grown.

“I’ve waited in a line for the bathroom, for at least five minutes,” senior Will Bauers said.

The wait is inconvenient not only for the students, but also for the teachers waiting for their students to return to class. The longer the students are out of the classroom, the more they are going to miss in terms of curriculum.

So students are left with a hard choice: either hold it or take the sometimes fifteen minute journey to the only available restroom in the school.

The problem is nearly eight years ongoing and although the district is trying, this is not a issue that can be fixed overnight.

Students can hope to see new hall monitors hired in the next month or two.

Until then, they should be prepared to have to trudge through the long and grueling quest to find a bathroom.