veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Toilet Talk

(toilet flushing audio)

Bing: Hello and welcome to Toilet Talk, where we discuss everything Oak Park bathrooms. 

Ella: Why? Because it’s our duty. 

Bing: I’m Bing. 

Ella: I’m Ella. 

Brooke: I’m Brooke. 

Sydney: And I’m Sydney. 

Bing: It’s important when discussing such a valuable topic as bathrooms to talk about why they were implemented. According to the California Department of Education, traditional school restrooms are gendered, designed separately for boys and girls. Generally, a school restroom is a restroom that contains multiple stalls, or private water closets, aka toilets with lavatories or sinks outside of the stalls. Standard school restrooms also have gendered features such as urinals and menstrual product dispensers and receptacles. An all-access restroom that is not gendered, allows any student to access and use the facility. These practices are in design for detailed resolutions, as we can see here, that is the generic law that institutes that California must have bathrooms in public schools. More specific laws, however, were implemented.

Sydney: So this is Law Assembly Bill 367, the Menstrual Equity for All Act, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8, 2021, which requires that free menstrual products and bathrooms, in all California public schools. And although we do have menstrual products, somewhat, we looked at the bathrooms today, which is January 12 of 2024, and there were two tampons and there were zero pads and according to this law that’s posted next to where the menstrual products should be, says that Oak Park Unified School District will stock and make available and accessible free of cost at all times adequate supply of menstrual products in all girls restrooms and all gender bathrooms, and then at least one boys restroom in the school. And this is from grades six to 12. So we’re not sure what the middle school has, but at least at the high school, this is not supplied an adequate amount for an estimated amount of around 600 females at the school. 

Brooke: Additionally, there has been a sign posted in the girl’s bathroom that says dispensers for menstrual products are delayed in arriving, students can obtain free menstrual products from the medical, or sorry, excuse me, from the health tech at the main office. So this sign, from at least our knowledge from the beginning of the year, has been posted since August — and we suspect for another year as well — and we understand that stocking bathrooms is difficult and with staffing issues right now as well, but to have a student that needs help with specific issues, go to an office and waste class time that they should be in class for to get the products that they need that could be easily accessible is pretty difficult and should not be happening at a school, and really, according to the law needs to be fixed.

Ella: Not only could be easily accessible should be easily accessible by law, which has been implemented. And also if we’re going to move on to talking about sinks and soaps in the bathroom supply. As of today, January 12, 2024, we went in and two out of five soap dispensers in the women’s bathroom were either broken or did not have soap in them. And two out of six sinks were not working.

Bing: So if we’re looking at whether or not these requirements have been entirely met, as we stated in all of these bills, we’re looking at a bare minimum if that at actually being met. As it says, an adequate amount of these feminine hygiene products need to be supplied, and with only two for what a massive population of students that is not being adequately supplied for the students and the facilities that are in there such as the sinks, they are not actually working. So if we also look at whether or not the boys’ restroom as it said in that bill too, there needs to be one of those that is also fully stocked and when checked, there was only one on campus the main bathroom in the center of campus did not have one, however, the one by the pavilion does have a dispenser that has not been stocked anytime recently, however, that same signage is posted that if needed, you can go to the mental, or you can go to the main office and receive your products there. 

Ella: Now what can be done moving forward to improve the bathroom situations at Oak Park High School? 

Sydney: Well, for starters, on the same sign that has the bill posted in the restrooms, it has a spot for a staff member that is named responsible to supply an adequate amount of menstrual products. However, this sign does not have anyone’s name in it. So, for starters, it would be great to have some staff member that is responsible for keeping this filled so that people can actually use these products when they need it.

Bing: As that is part of a law to have someone that is in charge of this and clearly that is not remotely labeled. 

Brooke: And a simple little fix also is to bring the menstrual products that are in the office

into the bathrooms, a simple fix, because we know they are there, but it is difficult for students to make that travel over there and still keep their health and sanitation in check.

Bing: And with that, that is the closing of episode one of Toilet Talk. Thank you so much for joining in with us, and have a nice day.

(toilet flushing audio)

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About the Contributors
Sydney Herstein, Features Editor
Brooke Herstein, News Editor
Ella Broms, Staff Artist
Bing Heine Van-Fossen, Managing Editor

Class of 2025

Bing has been part of the Talon staff for 3 years. He has previously served as the Managing Editor and enjoys writing entertainment pieces.

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