Security locks certain bathrooms during school day


Photo by Seyun Park

One of the bathrooms locked by security was the gender-neutral bathroom on the G-level by the child development room. Various bathrooms are and will continued to be locked as security works to prevent overdoses and improve student safety.

The security team has begun to lock certain bathrooms around the school as part of a crackdown on class time loitering.
This week, seven of WJ’s bathrooms were locked – the boy’s bathroom on the G level next to the child development room, the gender-neutral bathroom on the G level during lunch, the boy’s and girl’s bathrooms on the G level near the portables during lunch and 5th period, the boy’s and girl’s bathroom on the first floor near the main gym and the boy’s bathroom next to the cafeteria.
An email sent out to teachers detailed multiple reasons for individual bathrooms being locked. For example, the boy’s G-level bathroom is detailed as being currently out of order. However, the biggest reasons that were cited were students loitering during the school day as well as high student traffic, making it hard for security to cover and closely monitor those bathrooms.
The list of locked bathrooms is subject to change week-to-week and even throughout the school day as security attempts to cover all the bathrooms. This shift in policy comes during a significant uptick in the usage and overdoses of fentanyl and other dangerous and illicit substances in the school building.
“Typically [overdoses] are occurring in restrooms, so we’re monitoring restrooms very closely. With limited staff, it’s hard to monitor all of the restrooms closely at all times,” Principal Jennifer Baker said.
According to reporting by Fox5, MCPS has administered Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, at least 11 times since the beginning of the school year.
“It’s really serious. Way more than anything I’ve ever seen as a school principal. People should be afraid (…) to take drugs,” Baker said.
In another move related to student safety, a new rule in the second semester now requires students late to first and fifth period to obtain pink late passes from the main office.
“Being to class on time is important. It’s not optional. (…) What we’re learning is important and part of that is being in class for the whole period. For safety, keeping halls clear during class (…) just so that we know where people are,” Baker said.