Students get answers about paper towels in bathrooms


Sophia Rohlfing

Will the paper towel dispensers be replenished this school year? The answer is not likely, according to AHS administration. Bathroom incidents are on the rise and this is causing frustrations on all fronts.

Sophia Rohlfing, Staff Reporter

Do you wonder why there are no paper towels in the student bathrooms? The Tik Tok trend “devious licks,” saw the destruction and vandalism of Ankeny High and with it the removal of the paper towels in the student bathrooms. Many students have since wondered why the paper towels have not returned. Although the “devious licks” played a major part in the removal of the paper towels from bathrooms, it was not the only reason. 

“I think we were averaging over 10 incidents a day in a restroom,” Associate Principal Wade Grinhaug, who oversees facility decisions said.

There were problems with the misuse of paper towels even before “devious licks” occurred back in September. 

So why have the school dispensers not been replenished? This would be due to the bathroom incidents that have continued to occur. With multiple incidents happening each day it causes a strain on the custodial staff and takes time away from cleaning other parts of the building.

With a new wing added to the school this year, it makes for a larger cleaning job for the custodial staff. Without the paper towels, it allows for less mess in the bathrooms and for the custodial staff to focus on other parts of the building. In fact, custodian Richard McDonald says there was a decrease in incidents once the paper towels were removed. 

However, students miss having paper towels in the bathrooms. 

“Paper towels need to come back,” senior Elisabeth Poock said. 

Students also mention that the hand driers in the bathrooms do a poor job of drying hands.

 “I would be okay with hand driers if they got good hand dryers, but the hand driers we have are not useful every time,” senior Genna Moritz said. 

Some students argue that due to the time it takes to dry their hands with the hand driers, they sacrifice drying their hands properly and getting back to class in a timely manner.

 “You can get back to class more efficiently if you have paper towels,” Poock said. 

It is unlikely the hand driers will be replaced, however. 

“No, I don’t think we have any plans to upgrade,” Grinhaug said. 

It is not only the paper towels that have been messed with. Both Grinhaug and McDonald said the side mirrors in the bathrooms have also been tampered with. These mirrors have been continuously taken off the walls in the bathrooms. Food has also been thrown at the walls of the bathroom, leaving a large mess for custodians to clean up. 

Students have noticed that paper towels in the new wing are accessible.

While Grinhaug says this is a “system response issue,” it can be noted that there are no hand driers in the new wing bathrooms. 

Compared to the rest of the school, the new wing bathrooms are the only ones in the school to have paper towels. With the lack of hand driers in these bathrooms, the school has to offer an option to dry hands — this just so happens to be paper towels. 

This does not pose a problem because McDonald says that there have barely been incidents in the new wing. This poses the question: why is the new wing different? 

Although it is likely paper towels will make a comeback, it is unknown when that will be for the time being. With all the previous and continued incidents in the bathrooms, it will be hard to welcome paper towels back soon. 

“Treat it [the student bathrooms] like you would treat your own home. You wouldn’t do that in your mom’s and dad’s house, so why do it when you go out in public?” McDonald said.