Vandalism in the girls bathrooms provokes mixed reactions

In the girls bathroom outside of the English and social studies learning center, this exchange of messages has been on the door of one of the bathroom stalls since the 2014-2015 school year.

In the girls bathroom outside of the English and social studies learning center, this exchange of messages has been on the door of one of the bathroom stalls since the 2014-2015 school year.

Francesca Truitt, A&E Editor

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In terms of aesthetics, Staples is a beautiful school — a brick building, wide halls, blue and beige lockers — so, it’s odd to think of Staples as having grafitti hidden inside the bathroom stalls. But in the girls bathrooms, most stalls serve as canvases for inspirational messages, as well as drawings, written by students and seen by hundreds of girls.

The girls bathroom stalls have become a haven for Staples girls’ deep, often inspirational, anonymous thoughts. In the girls bathroom, on the second floor, outside of the English and social studies learning center, an original message written in silver sharpie reads, “be the girl you want to be, that is what will truly make you happy.”

Immediately below the first post, another girl commented in black sharpie, “sadly I’m in a judgemental society,” in response to the original statement. And to that reply, another anonymous silver sharpie rang in, “shut up there’s a world outside the bubble.”

Throughout the school, short exchanges like this are dispersed in the girls bathrooms, often prompted by an inspiration message that leads others to comment, almost like an anonymous Facebook feed.

“I think it’s cool, it’s definitely typical high school-y,” Cathy Lahn ’17 said. “No one’s saying anything mean about anyone, so it’s harmless.”

However, not everyone is fond of the exchanges inside the girls bathroom stalls. “I just don’t really see the point to people doing that,” Sophie Betar ’18 said. “I don’t see what they get out of it.”

Although the original post is oftentimes an inspirational message, Vanessa Winter ’18 is confident that the intent behind it isn’t as virtuous as it may seem at first. “I think people do it more for the attention than to motivate people,” Winter said.

Although the posts don’t help Natalie Lieberson ’17  herself, she thinks that they could serve to actually help others.

“It might make them feel better during their day and keep them going,” Lieberson said. “Like you can get through this, you can get through high school and it just gives some people the push they need.”

In addition to anonymous written messages, the girls bathrooms also have many drawings hidden inside the stalls.

An anonymous junior girl who has drawn one of the many drawings in the bathrooms, which pictures a person meant to represent the people in Staples who go about life feeling unnoticed, first drew it to make a statement.

“It’s a different canvas, persay, but I think that’s what helps make it such a statement,” she said. “It wasn’t just like something profane written, or like graffiti, it was definitely art.”

According to Doug Raigosa ’16, unlike the messages and drawings in girls bathrooms, the things written and drawn in the boys stalls are more “immature,” he said.

“It just stuff like ‘call so-and-so for a good time,’ as a joke — I hope,” Raigosa said.

But, according to Raigosa, some of the drawings are creative and artistic, and “it helps pass the time in the stall.”

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the legal definition of vandalism entails “deliberately destroying or damaging property.” With regard to the written exchanges and drawings inside the bathroom stalls, everyone interviewed agreed that it was vandalism.

“But not all vandalism is bad vandalism,” Lahn said.

Despite the anonymous junior girl acknowledging her drawing as vandalism, she stands behind it.

“In a way yes, [it is vandalism], but I think that’s what adds to the shock of it,” she said. “And I think art is meant to shock people.”

In the girls bathroom on the second floor outside of the English and social studies learning center, “Its [sic] gonna be okay” is written in pencil on the door of the first bathroom stall. This quote has been on the bathroom wall, untouched, for well over a year.

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