High school removes toilet doors in attempt to combat 'vile' graffiti
PUBLISHED: 17:53 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:18 01 March 2018
Archant © 2018
A high school has decided to remove its toilet doors in a bid to bring an end to graffiti and anti-social behaviour problems.
Pakefield High School was recently forced to deal with a spate of offensive graffiti in its toilet facilities, leading to students expressing concerns to staff about their personal safety.
Student ambassadors liaised with the school’s site team to figure out a way of putting a stop to a problem that was leaving younger pupils scared to go into the toilets for fear of what they might find.
Following the lead of an increasing number of secondary schools, the decision was eventually taken to remove the toilets’ outer doors.
Pakefield High School headteacher Anthony Walker said: “Graffiti and anti-social behaviour are problematic in high schools and we had to make sure students felt safe.
“Our student ambassadors worked with the site team on the issue and the changes were made during the half term break.
“There has previously been some quite vile graffiti in the toilets and, at the end of the day, we want all students to feel comfortable.”
However, the move sparked a fierce backlash from some parents, who believed the removal of the doors was a violation of their children’s privacy.
One worried parent tweeted to express her dismay, saying: “My son was horrified the toilet doors have been removed and anxious about using them.”
Another Twitter user questioned the decision, asking “How can the toilets be a safe and pleasant part of the school without toilet doors?? Absolutely disgusting!”
After the reaction on social media, Mr Walker and his fellow members of staff decided it was necessary to invite parents into the school so they could see the facilities and communicate any concerns.
“We saw lots of negative stuff on social media, so we said to parents ‘come and see the real Pakefield’,” added Mr Walker. “Once they’d seen the removal of the outer toilet doors for themselves, we were able to tackle myths and address concerns.
“We recognise that we haven’t always been great with communication and responding to parental enquiries, but there was some really positive feedback and, crucially, some useful ideas from more than 60 parents.”