|Restrooms Get Low Approval Rating from Students
Thirty-five percent of the teens surveyed said their student restrooms are missing toilet paper, soap or paper towels - the basic sanitary supplies that in other public settings are mandated by local health departments. This lack of restroom supplies was a particular issue among female high-schoolers; 53 percent of girls age 15-17 said their student restrooms lacked the basics.
When asked what school officials should do to improve restroom conditions, more than three-quarters of the teens surveyed implored their schools to make sure that toilet paper, soap and towels don't run out. Perhaps cementing their reputation as pampered princesses, more than half of teenage girls asked schools to provide softer toilet paper as well.
While the lack of restroom supplies was cited by 48 percent of all student bathroom-avoiders as a reason for avoiding school potties, 62 percent cried "it stinks in there" as the reason for eschewing the facilities. Other reasons cited include: clogged toilets (30 percent of bathroom-avoiders), no doors on the stalls (23 percent) and that the restrooms are "scary and dangerous" (15 percent).
Regardless of the reasons for shunning the restroom, the students surveyed expressed concern for what happens to students who do not use the restrooms during the school day. Forty-three percent said students who avoid using the restrooms at school can't concentrate on their school work, causing their grades to suffer, while 42 percent said students get sick from holding it in all day.
While a small number of students felt the restroom was "the janitor's problem," not theirs, most felt students should take responsibility for their school restrooms. Eighty-two percent said that students should report problems to the janitor or the principal's office (although only 24 percent said they had actually done so). Still others agreed that students should get personally involved in making restroom conditions better:
-- 65 percent of those surveyed said that students should stop engaging
in graffiti and vandalism in the restrooms.
-- 55 percent said students should pick up trash off the floor.
-- 52 percent said students should participate in restroom cleanup and
Interestingly, students had little compassion for their peers who vandalize or abuse the restrooms; nearly 70 percent said those students should be punished.
The survey of 256 students age 12-17 nationwide was conducted by telephone from May 20-23, 2004 by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Professional. The margin of error is plus or minus six percent.