By: Ryan Kendrick –
The only thing dirtier than the bathrooms at Seton LaSalle are the words written inside them. In every boy’s bathroom in this school, there is at least one offensive word in every stall. From the gym locker room, to the second floor, inappropriate images, words, and urine covered floors dominate the bathrooms here, and no one has done anything about it until recently.
“I remember one time when the tiles of the second floor boys bathroom were nearly all covered with crudely drawn pictures of genitalia.” says Senior Jerome Wassel.
In the second floor bathroom, there were over 20 swear words, with most being extremely offensive. This graffiti isn’t just about things, but also about people that have both graduated and still go to this school.
“Over the course of a couple weeks last year, the graffiti went from mild cursing to graphic descriptions of sex acts ascribed to a recent female graduate.” Junior Caleb Klemick explains. Until a few weeks ago, 3 specific names were mentioned in the stalls, with two being about girls that still go to our school.
“I think the writings are vulgar and the people at Seton LaSalle are better than that. I think it is time to be done with saying ‘boys will be boys’. I personally find it very offensive, not only to the girls they are about, but to every girl.” points out Senior Lindsay Laverty.
Seton LaSalle’s own facilities director Timothy McElhone agrees with Laverty, saying “I don’t think you can fully prevent people writing on walls, writing on side walls, I think it’s more of cultural issue.If it’s a recurring problem, part of the answer is that as soon it is us, take it down. That’s why in public places they don’t want graffiti because it creates kind of an image that promotes more of the same. But to get to the source, I really think peer pressure can be a positive thing, and if the students raise concern it puts some pressure on whoever is doing it to not do it. I don’t know if custodians can prevent.”
The drawings are only the tip of the iceberg. In the bathrooms there is very often urine all over the floors in places nowhere near the toilets or urinals. Last year, a boy even urinated in our newly designed game room.
“I got a report about two or three weeks ago from a teacher indicating that there was graffiti in the second floor boys bathroom.” says McElhone. “This was the first time I was informed of the graffiti issue. I went up that day and looked, and I couldn’t see it, but I can’t say I spent a lot of time looking in there. I did a quick glance at the walls and the stalls, but I didn’t see it. So, I left a note for our evening custodian.” McElhone continued, “ A day or two later I checked back in with him and he said there was some graffiti. They said it was kind of hard to see, so that’s why I didn’t see it.”
After interviewing Mr. McElhone, he sparked a more thorough investigation in the boys’ bathrooms, and the graffiti was cleaned off. “We don’t want graffiti on the walls. I’m going to mention it to our folks and look more closely. What happens is they go in, look in the trash cans, check the paper towels, clean the toilets, clean the sinks, clean the mirrors. They have a routine that they go through. If you aren’t looking for then I think it would be easy to just pass over it.”
There will always be certain groups of people writing in the bathrooms, urinating where they aren’t supposed to, and not flushing toilets. However, as a student body we can enforce a positive peer pressure to show how these acts are disrespectful and hurtful to both individuals and groups .
While some of these actions are just plain childish and immature, others are extremely offensive. Not only do current students use the restrooms at Seton LaSalle, but also kids on eighth grade visitation day, SLS fans, and potential parents that might send their children to school here.
Imagine finding the n-word, or seeing the c-word, or even seeing girls names being casually, crudely mentioned in restrooms stalls when you are about to send your daughter here? Personally, it would make me think twice.
McElhone agrees, saying, “I think the answer is try to make students realize how hurtful it can be, how bad it can be for the school’s image, how unchristian it is, and that’s probably the best answer we have; make people think about it before they do something like that.”
*All of this information has been corroborated by multiple sources. The author has pictures of the graffiti that we have elected not to share widely on this forum.