A student at an east Ottawa high school says officials have been too slow to respond to concerns about doors missing from some boys’ bathroom stalls, raising privacy concerns among the student body.
“I want the school to be held accountable for it,” said the Grade 12 Gloucester High school student. CBC News has agreed not to name him as he fears academic repercussions.
The student said he avoided using bathrooms at the school starting in Grade 9 because of vaping and smoking gone unchecked.
Instead, he’s used the facilities down the street at a plaza, “which is very uncomfortable and unpleasant,” he said.
When he tried a school bathroom again last May, he noticed the missing doors and assumed they would be replaced. When they weren’t fixed by the time June rolled around, he reported them to the school principal, who said he’d look into it, according to the student.
“No followup,” the student said.
Alum says ‘it wasn’t like this’ before
The summer passed and in late August, Sabreen Abu’s son also flagged the missing doors during a tour for new Grade 9 families, she said.
“I went to Gloucester High School over 20 years ago and it wasn’t like this,” Abu said. “It’s very sad to see.”
Her son also walks down to the plaza, she said.
Students who spoke to CBC News across the street from the school on Friday also voiced concerns.
“It’s a lack of privacy,” said Grade 12 student Eyad Elbadawi. “I don’t think anyone would be comfortable enough doing their own business without the door.”
“It’s uncomfortable if you need to, you know,” echoed fellow Grade 12 student Edan Tudge, adding that missing stall doors has been an “on and off” issue since 2019.
Another student shared a photo he said he took in June showing no dividing wall between two toilets.
He said it’s still like that.
Stalls to be fixed next week: school board
Gloucester High School is represented by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
A school board spokesperson said Friday via email that some bathroom stalls were damaged and need to be replaced “due to vandalism.”
The unnamed student said some stalls have been vandalized with markers, “but that doesn’t mean you remove them and take away students’ privacy.”
“Even if it was vandalism in May, they’ve had months during the summer to bring the doors back, which they still haven’t done,” he said.
After CBC News reached out to the school board on Friday, the spokesperson said the board plans to fix the stalls next week.
In the meantime, “there are eight additional stalls or private bathrooms available to male students on the main floor of the school,” the spokesperson added. “Additional stalls and private bathrooms are available on the upper floor.”