High schools in Spalding Co. lock restrooms during class to curb bad behavior

The county’s school district is trying to eliminate inappropriate behavior, such as skipping class, fighting, or vaping in restrooms.
The county’s school district is trying to eliminate inappropriate behavior.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
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GRIFFIN, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - High schools in Spalding County are trying to stop “inappropriate behavior” by locking the restrooms.

What started as a rumor is in fact true. Both Griffin High and Spalding High schools have added swing gates to the entrances of restrooms, restricting access to students during class. Spalding High started locking restrooms in January. Griffin High started this week.

Erica Collier is a senior at Griffin High. Her friend recently found herself locked inside one of the school’s restrooms.

“All of the bathrooms are locked,” said Collier. “They said the reason is because people vaping and all that stuff.”

The new restrictive measures are in place to ensure students aren’t missing out on important information during their 90-minute classes. Students are no longer allowed to use the restroom during the first 15 minutes of class and the last 15 minutes. Students can request a hall pass to use the restroom during the middle of class.

“I’m really surprised and disturbed,” said Jessica McGee, Collier’s mom. “You can’t really, you know, exclude the whole school. That’s a lot of kids. And then females, they have their times. So, they be needing to get to the bathroom.”

Other parents shared the same sentiment.

“They just need to crack down on the problems that they have because they ain’t got nothing to do with all kids,” said Amber Motes, who has two students at Griffin High.

A spokesperson for the Griffin-Spalding County School System sent the following to Atlanta News First:

“The use of gates and securing restroom entrances at certain times is a measure to help keep students on task and prevent any inappropriate behavior, such as skipping class, fighting, or vaping in restrooms.

Both high schools allow any students with an urgent need for the restroom to go to the front office any time during the school day.”

Atlanta News First reached out to other area school districts to see if they have similar restrictions. Of the districts that replied, Gwinnett, Cherokee, and Forsyth County schools said restrooms aren’t locked in their respective districts.

A spokesperson for Henry County Schools replied with the following:

“Most schools observe the 15/15 rule, and some have classroom bathroom breaks rather than sending students individually. Emergencies are also taken into consideration. Bathrooms are not made inaccessible for certain periods of the day.”

A spokesperson for DeKalb County Schools released this statement:

“The DeKalb County School District is mindful of its responsibility for creating learning environments conducive to instruction keeping the health of students in mind.

To that end, schools incorporate standard restroom breaks throughout the day, such as during class changes and lunch periods. Administrators and teachers allow students to use restrooms during class as needed.

Parents, guardians, and students with concerns or special circumstances are encouraged to discuss them with school personnel.”