High school showering goes down the drain

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Graphic by Hannah Weeran

Hannah Weeren

Four perfectly functioning showers are in both locker rooms, which means eight perfectly functioning showers are never used.
Even if students wanted to shower in the full five minutes they are given after gym class, they cannot because the showers are full of miscellaneous equipment.
Principal Joe Jira said that money was put into the boys’ and girls’ showers during renovation. “I believe the reason the coaches decided to not let them stand as showers was because in this day and age, kids just don’t take showers anymore” he said. “They felt that the space was better used for storage.”
Showering used to be required after physical activity in middle schools and high schools across the country to ensure good hygiene.
“Every day after gym we had to take a shower, you were not allowed to opt out,” said theater teacher Chris Rose, who graduated from Dulaney High School in 1980.
Although the requirement of showering led to good hygiene, it also led to many awkward experiences.
“Everyone was cracking jokes all the time because everyone was naked,” Rose said. “[However] no one was mean to anybody.”
English teacher Michelle Vance, who attended Dundalk Middle School and graduated from Dundalk High School in 1984, had a similar, though more traumatizing experiences.
“We had to open [our towels] and show [the gym teachers] that we were wet, and naked, and then if we weren’t wet enough, we would have to go back in and do it again,” said Vance.
Because of her horrible experiences in middle school, Vance chose not to shower in high school.
“If we had individual [showers] I think a lot of girls would have taken showers,” Vance said.
Physical Education teacher Rick Evans, who graduated from a New Jersey high school, agrees with this as well.
“In this day and age you need privacy,” Evans said.
When he was in school he had to shower with little privacy, had to bring his own soap and shampoo, and was only provided with a towel.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what it was like for me when I had to take a shower,” Evans said.
Julia Watt (’18) had no idea that showering used to be so strictly enforced and monitored.
“I’d feel pretty uncomfortable. I would not want to do that,” Watt said.
But, she said if there were curtains or doors of some type she would feel more comfortable.
“There have been some times when the showers could’ve been useful,” Watt said.
Jira said, “If there were a group of students that came to me and told me they were concerned because they can’t shower after being in P.E. class, I would bring them in and sit down, talk together and put together some type of thinking group and ultimately at least find a way to make one of those showers, depending on the number of kids who would want to take showers, one or more of those showers available. I think that’s a student right, a student has to feel like they have the ability to get clean after they’ve been in the gym and working out and everything.”