New Metea policy invades the privacy of all students

Privacy is something that we all hold closely. We don’t want to involve a lot of people we don’t know into our own personal lives. A lot of people don’t want their relationships public, who they talk to the public, or sometimes even their hobbies public. I can assure that most people aren’t a completely open book when it comes to topics like privacy. Everyone has secrets. Metea has just invaded some of our privacy at school by leaving bathroom doors open.

The reasoning behind leaving bathroom doors open is that it is commonplace for people to vape, smoke, and do all sorts of activities that aren’t appropriate for a school bathroom. It makes it significantly easier to access the bathrooms when the doors are wide open. From personal experience, I have used the bathrooms during specific lunch periods and observed people vaping. I had no need to report them, as it isn’t my business to do so, but I figured that with all of the talk about vaping and the fact that someone who is normally isolated from these kinds of activities, that something would be done if I came in contact with this.

Now to combat this, the bathroom doors are left open. First, I believe it is important to get some other factors aside from drug abuse when it comes to leaving the doors open. Leaving the doors open allows people to hear noises in the bathrooms. Whether it be talking, or other functions, all of it can be heard. Bathrooms are supposed to be a private environment and while talking in them is discouraged by staff, the fact these doors are open does eliminate that. From middle school experience, if kids wanted privacy to talk they went to the bathroom. Despite what the administration might want, the bathrooms are a “safe space” both during passing periods and during class. It has been this way ever since the idea of school has been here. Ask any adult about bathrooms and they can assure you that they have always been more than just a place to unload your business.

Because the bathroom doors are open on a daily basis, it’s just that much easier and possibly even more tempting for opposite genders to go into the bathrooms. As weird as it sounds, some students think it’s a complete joke but in reality, it’s invading a lot of privacy. Can you imagine being a girl just casually standing at the sink looking at yourself in the mirror in the restroom and all of the sudden a guy walks in? That guy will most likely laugh it off, leaving you completely shocked. It may sound fictional, but instances like this become even more plausible when the accessibility is there.

Now, with privacy on the line, why would the school decide to leave the doors open? It can be assumed that the supervising team wants to be able to monitor the bathrooms and make sure nothing suspicious is occurring. It isn’t worth it to sacrifice the privacy of our students just to make sure kids aren’t vaping, doing drugs, or just socializing. If you look at anything but vaping, there will be a stench lingering around the bathroom indicating possibly the time when they could have smoked. However, vaping is a dominant issue at Metea, this idea shouldn’t come new to anyone. The question is, how does the school manage to save privacy and attempt to stop drug use? This is relatively difficult to answer if the budget comes into play. There are vape/smoke detectors that could work, but Metea most likely does not have the available cash to spend on detectors. Leaving the doors open could be a temporary solution until they find a new alternative, but coming from not only the newspaper team, even non-vaper students even dislike the open doors.

Metea definitely needs to work on finding alternatives. If they really want to supervise students, they need to find a way to do so without invading our privacy. It’s understandable that advisors want to limit drug use at our school but choosing to use the bathrooms as a way to catch any suspicious behavior is erroneous.