The Custodians are Throwing in the Towel (Again)

The paper towels have disappeared from the restrooms once again. This time it’s our fault.
Our schools paper towels are restricted to storage rooms
Our school’s paper towels are restricted to storage rooms

The paper towels are gone again. Last year, after a number of students were creating messes in the men’s restrooms, the custodial staff stopped restocking paper towels. The restrooms were restocked with fresh paper towels at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.

This didn’t last long.

Last month, the custodial staff stopped restocking the towels after students had removed the towel dispensers from the walls of several restrooms.

“Initially they were removed about a year and a half ago due to an incident that happened at another school, Wakefield,” Yorktown High School principal Kevin Clark said.

Clark is referring to a 2022 incident in which a student set fire to a bathroom at Wakefield High School. The fires were set in a trash can filled with paper towels, prompting the county to remove the towels from all high schools in the county.

Though the towels were originally removed because of the incident at Wakefield, they remained absent because of the actions of the students here at our school. When the custodians tried to bring the towels back at the beginning of this year, students began crumpling the towels, soaking them in water, and sticking them to the walls and ceiling.

“Some [students] just take them, wet them, throw them on the ceiling, use them to clog the toilet. So we decided to take them off,” Yorktown building supervisor Ebenzer Oware said.

Oware believes that students are directly to blame for the removal

“You [students] messed it up in your restroom, now we took it out … So you should have that at the back of your mind” Oware said.

The absence of paper towels has students drying their hands either with their clothes or using poorly performing air dryers, which have been proven to be more unsanitary than traditional paper towels.

According to a study done by the Harvard Medical School, air hand dryers are a breeding ground for bacteria. They conducted an experiment where they exposed a petri dish to the hot air of a public and dryer. From only 30 seconds of exposure, up to 254 colonies of bacteria grew.

Because of this, students frustrated with the decision.

“It’s annoying that they’re suddenly gone again when we had them for a bit,” sophomore Reid Moneymaker said.

Despite this, many students at Yorktown still hope that the towels will return and be allowed to stay. Oware believes it’s a possibility– as long as students demonstrate a capability to handle their handwashing.

“Custodians or the SSC people cannot be in the restroom 24 -7… so I think much of [the paper towels’ return] depends on the students themselves,” Oware said.

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About the Contributor
Jackson Weber
Jackson Weber, Reporter
Jackson Weber is a sophomore beginning his first year on The Yorktown Sentry. Jackson is looking forward to keeping the students of Yorktown informed and entertained. He loves being a part of the Yorktown community, especially the robotics team. When he's not hanging out with friends he enjoys spending his time at the rock climbing gym honing his skills.

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