Boston’s school bathrooms are a big mess

Bianca Vázquez Toness:

Louisiana shouldn’t be embarrassed, but perhaps Boston should. Filthy, unsanitary, and often lacking basics like toilet paper and hot water, the bathrooms of the city’s public schools are, far too frequently, in appalling condition. It is not a conventional measure of success or failure in the city’s schools, but it is a telling one: What does it say to the children of the schools that they are expected, as they strive to learn, to put up with such facilities? Or avoid them at all cost — and great discomfort?

More: What does it say about a system that tolerates such conditions? Is it really asking too much to have soap at every sink?

The record of subpar performance, and utter failure, on this score is thick and disheartening, a Globe review found. Last year, city public health inspectors found problems — from nonflushable toilets to obnoxious odors — in 89 of 111 Boston Public School buildings they visited. A 2016 survey of more than 2,000 students, parents, and staff found that nearly two thirds rated the district’s bathrooms as “poor” or “fair.” And the vast majority of the more than 30 students, parents, and teachers interviewed in recent weeks by the Globe described the bathrooms as gross, even dangerous, citing the prevalence of missing soap and toilet paper, urine stench, and leaks — even feces and sanitary pads strewn on the floor.