Student political party challenges bathroom policy


Ben Schneider

Bechtold stands in front of the bathrooms, which are the focus of his campaign for senior class president.

Ben Schneider, Editor-in-Chief

The words “save your bladder” appear on a number of campaign posters circulating throughout the school and on social media. The students behind the slogan are candidates for the upcoming class officer elections who founded the Toilet Party. 

The four candidates are running under a multi-class political party with the goal of decreasing or eliminating the 15 minutes at the start and end of each class where students are not allowed to leave and go to the bathroom. 

Right now the party includes senior class president candidate Jackson Bechtold, junior class secretary candidate Bella Avila, junior vice president candidate Amy Asubonteng and sophomore president candidate Macklin Hand.

Bechtold originally came up with the idea for his platform, but he decided to expand it beyond just seniors by teaming up with candidates from other classes.

“I don’t want to leave underclassmen behind,” Bechtold said. “So I’ve created a political party with underclassmen … to get that change for them as well.”

Avila decided to join the party after entering the race for junior class secretary because she supports the cause. 

“The toilet party isn’t just a party,” Avila said. “It’s a movement. Jackson, a really good friend of mine, got me into the party. He saw that I was running and asked if I could join and I was like ‘of course’ because that’s something I believe in.” 

Even though no students are officially registered as the toilet party, the candidates are working together by promoting each other. They also share a common goal.

“I think bathrooms are on everybody’s minds recently because of the increased security and tracking going in and out,” Bechtold said. “[The changes] feel a bit unnatural to me. I think that it’s entirely fair to reduce or even eliminate the 15 minute rule.”

Asubonteng agrees because she believes that the 15 minute rule is unnecessary and detrimental to students who may have to use the bathroom during that time. 

“We are human beings,” Asubonteng said. “If we need something or have to go, why must we wait a whole 15 minutes? … What type of trouble would it cause for a student to leave class the first 15 minutes of class rather than after. It makes no sense.”

Senior Maggie Matzen, one of Bechtold’s fellow candidates for class president, disagrees with the idea because of the value of the 15 minute rule to school safety. 

“We have the 15 minute rule to guarantee that there aren’t intruders in the building, to make sure people aren’t skipping, and to make sure that the teachers have time to get into their positions to actually monitor the hallways for [student] safety,” Matzen said. “The reason we have the new system for the bathrooms is for safety … so it’s actually something that’s really important.”

However, there is student support for the idea. Senior Allen Strassel approves of it because he believes that the bathroom rules are too restrictive. 

“I feel like it’s very unnecessary to have to wait 15 minutes and it would benefit everybody to be able to go to the bathroom when they want to,” Strassel said.

Senior Glenn Smith agrees that the rule should change, and he also wants the toilet party to expand their platform to include other modifications to the bathroom policy.

“I definitely support the idea of reducing the 15 minutes because Cav morning is 30 minutes and we can’t go to the bathroom at all during that time,” Smith said. “Additionally I think they should add that they’re going to make the toilet paper thicker because right now it’s like a quarter ply and that’s just not nearly enough.”

I think that it’s entirely fair to reduce or even eliminate the 15 minute rule”

— Jackson Bechtold

With the election set to take place on Sep. 15, the toilet party members are focused on rallying support for themselves and their platform. Asubonteng maintains that if any of the toilet party members are elected, they will make a case to get the rule reduced or eliminated. She wants to convince students and staff to support the idea and get administration to make a change.

“If any of us are elected, we can work together to start a campaign addressing why the 15 minute rule must be reduced. I will work to speak with the school’s administration and staff on what we all can do to [get] the 15 minute rule reduced.”

However, it may not be possible to reduce the rule. According to government teacher Rebekah Amato, the students will face a tough road in an attempt to change the bathroom policy.

“It’s a safety issue,” Amato said. “It keeps the halls clear during the first fifteen minutes and last fifteen minutes [of every block]. Because when people do come into the building … they tend to come in during bell change. So [administration] won’t get rid of that. Because I’m pretty sure that’s a county policy, not just Clover Hill … I used to sub in all the different middle schools and high schools and that’s been around for at least 17 years.”

Her advice to any students who want to change school policy is to get involved with a club that tackles the issue or the advisory committees who meet with administration to give a student perspective. That way, students can voice their opinions on school rules and create change even if the toilet party is unable to accomplish their goal. 

“There’s so many good places for the toilet party to go, not just down the drain,” Amato said. 

Despite the potential difficulties, Bechtold hopes that the students’ efforts will result in the elimination of the 15 minute rule. However, he is willing to stick with a reduction to 10 minutes. He believes that the proposed modification to the rules will benefit the entire student body.

“I think it’s unfair to expect students to do their business within like a five minute time period [in between classes],” Bechtold said. “For some that’s just not manageable considering how far apart their classes are. But you get a 35 minute block off for some students [due to the 15 minute rule and the class transition time] which is a bit unfair, especially if it’s an emergency.” 

Update: Bechtold, Avila, and Hand won their elections and assumed class officer positions.