Student interests reflected in bathroom graffiti


Photo by Yuval Shachar

Displayed is the array of unique student contributions to the bathroom stalls.

Everyone has seen the bathroom graffiti or even been a part of it. It’s an integral part of our high school experience. With a range of content in writing, art or just scribbles, the graffiti profoundly reflects the student body’s personality with polls and confessions.

Superficially, the graffiti includes relevant references and popular jokes, which is interesting to depict what media students are currently consuming. An ongoing poll is the debate between “Team Edward or Team Jacob” from the Twilight saga, with many tally-marks from different bathroom-goers indicating what ‘team’ they prefer. Other references include zodiac sign-slander, “Among Us” drawings and even a print out of Drake’s face. The interaction between people responding to each other’s graffiti is a small but impactful way of community-building (or breaking), even if it is anonymous.

“I mean I don’t think too much of it. I guess it’s funny sometimes, and I don’t really see a problem personally. It would look cool if no one erased it,” sophomore Theo Weintraub said.

Displayed is the array of unique student contributions to the bathroom stalls. (Photo by Yuval Shachar)

There are instances where the graffiti consists of just curse words or obscene phrases and drawings, which on the surface level is blatant. However, it can be seen as a garish way to be provocative, some form to quench the thirst for rebelliousness that is faced in early stages of highschool.

[It’s] very vulgar but creative.

— senior Mariana Lemus

However, the graffiti can actually indicate student personalities and some of the real struggles our student body goes through. Many use it to show their unhappiness in the school environment, their relationship with other students, current mental state, addictions and sense of humor. That combination of different themes is one of the best ways to encapsulate the high school experience.

“I’m so high right now”, “People are fake” and even “Death is inevitable” are a few of the many quite sensitive confessions observed in the stalls. Some believe the administration should be more concerned with the content of the graffiti rather than just erasing it, as it indicates their failure in addressing student struggles.

“I’ve seen really cool signatures like this one rat drawing, I think it’s a way to leave a mark you know? I sometimes respond when I’m bored, or like when I don’t want to go back to class I’ll draw my signature tag,” an anonymous student said.

Even if it might be erased tomorrow, graffiti can be a way to give students a voice (even if used simply to write ‘your mom’) as well as allowing anonymous communication between people. it provides a sense of understanding and belonging. Many respond to each other’s confessions in agreement, something that may be less likely to happen in any other environment.