Franklin High students forced to hold in urine after school closes some bathrooms

More than 700 students at a Highland Park high school are demanding justice after many say some conditions at their school are causing problems to their health.

“I saw something unfair and unjustified, so I acted on it,” said Franklin High School Junior Class President Erick Castro. “I got 730 signatures – that’s most likely half the school

Headlined “Save Franklin Now,” the petition urges school administrators to reopen all restrooms on campus after some have remained closed since returning to campus in August.

“It’s hectic for girls, especially at this time of the month,” said student Citlali Marin. “You have to wait until dinner or lunch, but during that time it’s absolutely packed.”

Some students restrict their water and have to hold back their urine. Students often say open bathrooms have a line out the door.

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“They go all the way to the yard, and it’s like that throughout lunch,” Marin said.

“Honestly, when I need to go to the bathroom and I can’t concentrate in class because I need to relieve myself,” said student Joanna Ornelas. “Everyone does.”

The petition also calls for the use of lockers, all of which have been locked and have stood unused since students returned from distance learning. Finally, the petition calls on the district to fix broken air conditioners in several classrooms.

Castro said he met with the principal, who told him the restrooms and lockers were closed because of concerns about drug use and not having enough staff to monitor.

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“We recently went to La Cañada for football,” said student Mario Alcaraz. “Just across the 210 and it was fine. The lockers were upstairs, the toilets were open – everything was fine.”

Tyrone Howard, a professor of education at UCLA, has explored this sense of injustice. During his research, he found that most students do not bring guns or drugs to school. However, students in poor or communities of color are more likely to be stigmatized.

“I think we need to go deep and do an analysis to look closely at the conditions that we expect young people to have,” he said.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the Los Angeles Unified School District made a $320 million invention to replace or fix broken air conditioners and increase its supervisory staff to keep all bathrooms open.

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“We conduct a thorough analysis of staff deployment, from teachers and support staff to supervisors, based on new enrollment information, to ensure there is equity in the deployment of human resources,” he said.

In a statement, a LAUSD spokesman said schools are required to have one restroom stall for every 40 students and Franklin High is exceeding that standard.

A LAUSD spokesman said he would revisit the locker issue in May and consider reopening them.

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