Some parents and students at McCurdy Charter School are speaking out against students having to clean restrooms and other facilities at the School.
Katherine Petersen, a freshman at McCurdy, said School administrators have told her and many of her classmates to clean restrooms during their advisory period. She said the cleaning usually consists of scrubbing walls and mopping floors, sometimes with no gloves or masks for protection.
“That’s gross,” she said. “We’re not here to do that.”
McCurdy Director Sarah Tario confirmed the School is having students clean facilities, which she said is part of an effort to get students to “take ownership” of their campus.
“This is a publicly-funded facility and it’s our tax dollars at work,” she said. “We should be taking care of what’s entrusted to us.”
She said students are only expected to do a minimal amount of cleaning that does not require the use of chemicals.
“It’s really light cleaning,” she said. “They’re not in there with toothbrushes scrubbing grout.”
While she said gloves and masks are always made available to students, Petersen said the opposite is true.
“We don’t even know where those are,” she said. “They don’t have them in the supply closet.”
Tario said McCurdy, described as a “service learning school,” has always had its students help clean facilities, but that students now have to do so on a more regular basis. She said the School’s leadership team decided having students clean facilities would help them take responsibility for their campus.
She said while paid janitors still clean the restrooms everyday, this is an effort to get students to take part in making their campus clean.
Parents, though, have still expressed anger over their students having to clean.
“It’s disgusting,” said Connie Petersen, Katherine’s mother. “We send our kids to school not to clean toilets.”
Angela Martinez said her daughter, a sixth-grader at McCurdy, has not had to clean restrooms yet, but that she is upset her daughter might have to in the future.
“There should be other ways,” she said. “I don’t send my daughter (to school) to be cleaning bathrooms.”
While Tario said the new effort to keep campus clean is not a punishment, students facing detention are sometimes asked to clean facilities.
“Sometimes as part of detention, we have them sweep or help out cleaning up the restroom,” she said.
She said she has noticed that facilities are in better condition ever since students have been cleaning on a regular basis.
Katherine Peterson said, though, that most students are not happy with being forced to clean. Administrators still come into the class and select random students to clean, while also asking for volunteers.
“Like we would volunteer,” she said, laughing.
Tario said any parents concerned about their student cleaning facilities can reach out to her with their questions.