Severe vandalism causes BVH to close bathrooms


Gabriella Bomjardim

Bonita Vista High junior Jaynne Quezada holds open the 500’s bathroom door during passing period. The 500’s is the only open bathroom during the passing period between fifth and sixth period so the wait times are longer.

On Monday March 7, Bonita Vista High (BVH) Assistant Principal Esther Wise sent out a schoolwide email via Jupiter Ed informing students that the only open bathrooms are those in the 300s and 500s for boys and the 300s, 500s and 700s for girls. The increase in severe vandalism caused the bathroom’s closure as well as increased supervision in the bathrooms. 

“In my 14 years of being a site administrator, I’ve never seen what I’ve seen [during] the last couple weeks where multiple toilets have been shattered,” BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario Ed.D. said. 

Along with the shattered toilets, there have been multiple cases of students tagging the walls and breaking school property in the bathroom. Del Rosario explains that students have tried to take hand dryers and toilet paper dispensers off of the bathroom walls. Another layer of precaution taken by BVH administration is taking down bathroom mirrors in the 500s girls bathroom, one of the only bathrooms that is still open. 

“We had a problem with students hanging out [in the 500s bathrooms] doing their makeup and being late to class. A solution to that was to remove the mirrors instead of us going in there and telling everybody to get to class,” Wise said.

Del Rosario explains that the vandalism comes at a maintenance cost for the district. Specifically, the shattered toilets are expensive because they are industrial. 

“We’ve had district painters [and] plumbers come in and fix bathrooms, toilets [and] doors, so school property is being damaged,” Wise described. “It’s costing a lot of money and it’s depleting our resources. We want to make sure that it doesn’t continue.”

As a result of the improper use of the bathrooms, the BVH administration had to put in work orders to the district maintenance department in order for the damages to be repaired as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the bathrooms are closed until further notice.

“The ones that are not open are because there’s damage to property [and] they’re not working correctly. So we’re waiting on our district plumbers or painters to come in and fix them,” Wise said.

However, repairing the bathrooms takes time. Del Rosario explains that the repair process varies and it is unclear when students will have access to the closed bathrooms again.  

“The district [has] a limited number of employees and we have 27 campuses district wide so often maintenance prioritizes projects that are more time sensitive so it depends on what else is going on district wide,” Del Rosario said.

Wise encourages students who have information about the vandals to speak up. There are various ways students can reach administrators which is the action Del Rosario hopes that students will take. 

“Students [can] report [incidents], through P3Tips, or talk to an administrator or a teacher who [would] report it to the main office,” Del Rosario said. “I believe every student here knows what the right thing is and if you know that students are out there destroying property the right thing to do is tell an adult about it so we can all be proactive.” 

Since Wise sent out the initial email informing the BVH community of the vandalisms, people have spoken out about what they know. These reports have alleviated the tension, reducing some restrictions in the bathrooms. 

“We had some outcomes from that email where we were able to follow some leads and work with Chula Vista PD. [Now] there’s an open investigation,” Wise said. “Right after we sent out that Jupiter Grades message, because we were able to have some leads, we open[ed] the [300s bathrooms which] were functioning.”

Although the bathrooms will open as soon as repairs are finished, the closure of the bathrooms have been causing inconvenience for students like BVH sophomore Priscilla Iniguez. Iniguez expresses her concerns with not being able to use the closed bathrooms and the time that would be spent to reach the bathrooms. 

“I don’t think the solution to tagging or vandalism was to close down several bathrooms. If my class is in the 200’s, I [would] have to walk to the 500 or 700 [buildings, which] takes away class time especially when there’s long lines,” Iniguez said. “During passing periods or break times, [using the bathroom] could make me late to class or take a huge portion of my break.”

BVH junior Lannah Garcia suggests that students should find alternative ways to fulfill their urge to vandalize instead of causing harm to the school’s property. She believes that vandalizing school property negatively affects more than just the property itself.

“[The bathroom is] not your property so you shouldn’t be drawing on it. If you want to [draw] something, you have paper in your classrooms. Vandalizing the bathroom walls makes it more difficult for the custodians,” Garcia said. “It’s also not helpful because we get our ‘privileges’ taken away from us when they shouldn’t even be privileges in the first place.”