The Gold Coast Bulletin
SCHOOL TOILET ON SKIDS
Parents crack it after college blocks students from using the loos
SCHOOLS aiming to stop students vaping in the toilets have locked them, sparking outrage from parents.
SOME Gold Coast high schools are locking toilet blocks during class time to help stop students vaping.
The Bulletin understands some public high schools have permanently locked bathrooms to reduce the number of places where students can use e-cigarettes.
One school requires students to sign for a key, with others needing the toilet having to wait until it’s returned.
A private school has locked toilets in class time, forcing students to ask permission and then present to an administration block and exchange their signed diary for a key.
“I’m absolutely furious. You just can’t deny students access to the toilets,” said a parent, who had a child at Aquinas College in Ashmore.
“What about girls who have their periods? What are they supposed to do?
The parent believed the decision was “breaching basic human rights” but it’s believed schools are within their rights because toilets are still accessible any time on request.
On Wednesday, a letter was sent to parents advising of a “procedural change” as a response to “behavioural and students welfare concerns”.
“No student will be denied access to the toilet or to leave class, with teacher permission,” Aquinas principal Peter Hurley wrote. “From today toilets will be locked during class time.
“They will be reopened during the transition between periods 1 and 2 also between periods 3 and 4.
“As usual, all toilet blocks will be open during morning tea and lunch breaks. We hope this process is a shortterm response to an issue of student safety and well being.”
Aquinas parents, who pay up to $10,000 in school fees, were not consulted on the decision. Students were warned verbally on Monday that the new rule would take effect from Tuesday.
The use of vapers has become an increasing problem at some high schools, with principals suspending students found using them.
Vaping is the inhaling of a vapour, created by an electronic cigarette.
There’s limited evidence of the long-term effects of vaping because any damage to the lung may take decades to develop. However, it has been associated with significant health risks.
The Bulletin understands northern Gold Coast high schools are clamping down on the use of vapers, with some demanding students hand them into the office and others closing some of the toilet blocks so there’s fewer places for kids to vap.
Another parent has confirmed their school is requiring students to sign in and out of bathrooms.
An Education Department spokesman said: “Any measures taken by the schools to restrict access would be made in the interest of safety first and foremost.”
However, the Aquinas parent questioned: “Why punish everyone for the actions of a few? There must be a better way to approach this.”
By Tuesday afternoon there was already graffiti on a door in the girls toilet with the words “give us our toilets back!”
Brisbane Catholic Education was approached for comment but said it would not be making one on behalf of Aquinas College.