OPINION: Broken Window Theory, Our Troubled Bathrooms, and the Trick to Solving Student Vandalism


Madison Jacques

Broken stall door in the girls bathroom that won’t close all the way.

It’s no secret: The Triton student bathrooms are disgusting and need to be fixed now. Students have been vandalizing the bathrooms and the problem is just getting worse. If the bathrooms were repaired and looked nicer, students would be less likely to deface them. Some of the work that needs to be done includes repairing the toilets so they don’t leak, fixing all the cracked dirty tiles, putting up some new stall doors, and painting over the cracked, defaced walls.

Walking into a bathroom you would want to see working sinks and toilets, stall doors that actually close all the way, and overall, you would want it to be clean. If you walk into a bathroom at Triton, however, you will see cracked floor tiles, sinks missing or broken, and writing all over the walls and stall doors. One of the stall doors in the girls’ bathroom doesn’t even close all the way, which means no privacy while trying to use the toilet. The boys’ bathroom also has sinks missing and writing all over the walls and stall doors. Students throw trash into the toilets, clogging them. There have even been multiple incidents of students using the toilet paper to create a fort-type structure over the stalls.

The problem is the bathroom isn’t being taken care of by students because they recognize how gross and damaged it already is and think they’re not making it any worse by leaving trash in there. Students would take care of the bathrooms more if they didn’t look as bad, and this is backed up by a concept known as The Broken Window Theory. According to Britanica.com, The Broken Window Theory states that visible signs of crime or civil disorder creates an urban environment and encourages further crime. For example, in 1992, New York City, under the direction of commissioner William Bratton, implemented the Broken Window Theory by cleaning up the streets. They cracked down on panhandling, disorderly behavior, public drinking, street prostitution, and littering. When Bratton resigned in 1996, felonies were down 40 percent

in New York, and the homicide rate was cut down to half. If Triton implemented the theory into the school and fixed the bathrooms, the acts of vandalism would decrease. 

Not only is the bathroom an eyesore, some students don’t feel safe using the bathrooms the way they are, so they wait until they get home to use the bathroom. This could potentially be very dangerous. Studies show that holding in urine for long periods of time can do all kinds of damage to your body. It can cause urinary tract infections, increase the risk of kidney disease, or even cause your bladder to burst which could be deadly (According to geisinger.org).  Students should have a safe, clean bathroom to use throughout the school day so they aren’t forced to wait until they’re home. 

The renovations that need to take place in the bathroom would be expensive and time-consuming. The school may not see this as a priority because of the cost but students need to feel comfortable going to the bathroom throughout the school day. If the bathrooms are fixed up, students would start taking better care of them which would reduce the number of small repairs that are already needed every now and then, and will save money in the long run. The bathrooms need to be fixed now before they get so bad that it becomes an even bigger issue that can’t be avoided.

Works cited

“Broken Windows Theory.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/broken-windows-theory. 

Stop Holding It in! 4 Bodily Functions You Should Let Out, https://www.geisinger.org/health-and-wellness/wellness-articles/2018/03/29/21/13/stop-holding-it-in-4-bodily-functions-you-should-let-out.