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The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

Majority student bathrooms get locked permanently for the year

Roslyn (RJ) Wells
This photo was taken at the student restroom near the rockstar room.

Opening the school in Sept. of 1967, there were a total of five student restrooms, available at all times. Now, 26 years later, there are a total of eight restrooms, four being available for students at scheduled times, the other four being permanently banned for the year.

Last year, all students received an email asking about their personal opinions on different topics relating to their school experiences. One of the topics being about the school bathrooms.

“One of the biggest things that came out of that survey in the comments were that students didn’t like to go to the restroom because there were too many kids hanging out in the restrooms, doing who knows what in the restrooms, and they just really despised using the restrooms,” principal Darren Rasmussen said.

Because public restrooms are so secluded and private, many inappropriate activities such as fighting, skipping and even sexual interactions have been taking place there. Along with other things like graffiti, group hangouts, food messes and/or filming for social media.

This resulted in 4 locked bathrooms in order to minimize these behaviors and actions, but a really big issue seen in the bathrooms was vaping. This habit was the number one leading cause of the 27 fire drills that occurred last year.

Fire Captain Josh Jensen of Engine 52 B explained there are consequences of a false alarm.

“If it’s a false alarm, the negative part of that is we’re out of service going to a false call when something could be happening somewhere else in the city that we could be responding to,” Jensen said.

But there are other consequences, like financial consequences, too. The expense of a false alarm is very expensive when they are continuous. According to, the first false alarm a location has comes with no charge, but if there is a second and third, the fire department will charge them $100. All false alarms occurring after will be a $250 charge. 

These false alarms were caused by a small amount of reasons. A few were set off by the kitchen dishwasher, others caused by the fire alarm being intentionally pulled, the majority being due to vaping in the bathrooms.

“I know when the fire department comes, we have to wait for the department to come up and give us a clue to go in,” Rasmussen said. “Unfortunately, it’s a disruption to not only our learning in the classroom, but also a disruption to their day.”

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About the Contributor
Roslyn (RJ) Wells, Managing editor
Sophomore R.J. Wells is jumping into her second year on the newspaper staff. She enjoys reading, writing, and plans on becoming an author and or journalist after high school. She's also a movie maniac and her favorite movie is Knives Out. Her word of the year is sublime.

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