OCSA’s Bathroom Crisis

The lack of restrooms on campus has been a problem for years.

Creative Commons

The lack of restrooms on campus has been a problem for years.

Jessica Vanderbeck, Reporter

The Osceola County School for the Arts has an issue hiding in plain sight. According to the Florida Department of Health, restrooms in Florida schools must be able to fit five percent of the school’s male population and five percent of school’s female population. With OCSA’s population and demographics, the restrooms on campus would have to have a combined number of around fifty stalls. However, the restrooms students use most often have a combined number that’s closer to twenty-two stalls, less than half of what would be required by state law.

The lack of restrooms also feeds into the long-standing issue of not having a locker room or changing area on campus. According to Tiffany Bell, the Dean of Students, nearly twenty percent of OCSA’s population are Dance Majors. “While we have access to the OPAC, we don’t own it. So sometimes, if there’s something going on in the theater, they have to go somewhere else,” says Bell. In these cases, students majoring in dance are forced to cram themselves into the restrooms to change, interrupting students who need to use said restrooms. They need to wait for very long periods of time before stalls are cleared up, and this can cause tardiness to classes.

This issue is most likely due to the school’s transition from a high school to a combination middle and high school. When the school first opened in 2002, it only accepted high school students and the bathrooms were likely up to standards. However, after expanding their doors to middle school students, new restrooms were not added. The large number of students who entered the school post-quarantine only made this issue more severe.

Gender non-conforming students are also put at a disadvantage by the bathroom situation. There is only one “family” restroom on campus, which is far away from the majority of classrooms. These students have to choose between throwing off their schedule by walking to it, or being forced to be in a space they don’t feel comfortable in. Whether they’ve needed to change for classes or wait in a long line, the majority of the student body has experienced a restroom-related issue at least once.

This issue has been ongoing, but changes are currently being researched to improve this issue.