Male students fret over lack of urinal dividers in bathroom

Henri Robbins | Staff Writer

Embarrassed, humiliated, invaded. These are the words that young men in the school use to describe using the restroom, and they want change.

Mason High School’s male student body has recently been rallying around an issue that went unmentioned until this year: the urinals in the men’s restrooms do not have dividers between them. In the restrooms, they stand within feet of each other when using these urinals. Many students, such as sophomore Timothy Keck, feel that this should be fixed, and that it should not come as a cost to the students.

“It feels like you could get peeped on,” Keck said. “And that’s just not something you want to feel. It’s like the school is cutting down on our privacy just by not putting those up.”

Recently, the school introduced Mason Ignite, a website where students can submit ideas for the “Big Idea Hunt”. While many suggestions have been to improve various aspects of student recreation, another prominent issue that has come up is that of urinal dividers, appearing in over six separate posts.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we have to ask for something like urinal dividers,” one poster said.

The problem is that students want to use the restroom in comfort. But when using the urinals, their options are either to wait or stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow students. Commonly, they will wait, but in the cases where they do not, students are often displeased with the outcome. Keck has frequently dealt with this issue, and wants the school to make the change.

Many boys are uncomfortable using pod bathrooms due to the lack of physical dividers between each urinal.

“I feel embarrassed,” Keck said. “When I’m in a hurry and I have to go to the restroom, and both of the ones are taken already, I have to go to the middle one. I feel embarrassed about that because I feel like I’m invading other people’s privacy, but if we have those dividers up, which is probably an easy fix, I don’t have to feel that because everything is private. “

Junior Justin Rose said that he’s unable to comfortably use the restrooms at school, and that the situation leads to a much larger amount of discomfort than anyone would anticipate. 

“I think it’s a breach of our privacy and a breach of our masculinity,” Justin said. “Like, what are you supposed to when someone just comes up and takes the middle stall? It’s gross. That’s why (the restrooms are so disgusting), people have to angle themselves so nobody sees anything. It’s horrible.” 

This all goes a lot deeper than simple discomfort, according to junior Jordan Rose. In his psychology class, they talked about survival instincts, and specifically looked at a study that demonstrated the issue. 

“A study showed how if you were being watched while you were peeing, it took longer to pee,” Jordan said. “That kind of goes back to how, even as animals, you’re defenseless while you’re urinating, and because of that you want to be more safe or you want to have less people around you, feel less self-conscious, anything. Just having dividers makes it way more comfortable for everyone.”

Even though she does not personally deal with this, sophomore Finn Closson said she would be unsettled by the lack of dividers, and she cannot believe her male peers have to face it so often. Closson said the concept itself makes her anxious, and she has trouble believing that it has not been fixed. 

“I have nightmares about having a bathroom door open too wide,” Closson said. “Like, I just don’t want people staring at me while I’m trying to use the restroom. I’ll have dreams where there’s no door at all, and there’s people everywhere, which is really freaky. I’d hate [using the urinals] so much. Like, If there was just another person right next to me, I would be so freaked out.”

The dividers themselves range in price from $200 to $600 each. This would result in a price of $4,800 to $14,400 to put them in the restrooms of each floor of each pod. Sophomore Shane Hacker feels they would be easy to install, and that the time and cost would be worth it. 

“It’s just putting some holes and screwing them into the wall, not even hard,” Hacker said. “In high school, we’re busy, we’re in a rush, and if I feel awkward doing something then I’m not going to do it.”

According to Jordan, the issue is prominent in the student body and the support is widespread. He has heard many of his classmates talking about wanting change, and hopes that administration will hear them. 

“In (the meetings during homeroom), every single time anyone brought it up, every single guy in the town hall immediately started cheering,” Jordan said. “I heard from my friends that this was recommended in other halls and the same thing happened – it was a resounding cheer, a roar, for it.” 

Photo by Henri Robbins.