Administration threatens area closures if students don’t pick up their lunchtime trash

February 10, 2020 — by Cici Xu and Samantha Yee

Students not cleaning after themselves leads to increased work by the maintenance staff.

As the lunch bell has sounded in recent months, a discouraging sight has greeted administrators and maintenance staff on the tables inside the student center, in restrooms and in the student parking lot: an increasing amount of litter.

Littering has occurred more frequently at the end of lunch time than at any other time throughout the day, and is becoming particularly noticeable in the student center, assistant principal Matt Torrens said. 

Torrens said that if the trash problem in the student center is not resolved, the building may be closed during lunch the way the Upper Field has been. The upper field closed recently during lunch after too many students were leaving litter there. 

“Kids are leaving behind garbage where all they have to do is literally reach over three feet and drop it in the garbage, but they just forget,” Torrens said.  “So we are trying to get kids in the habit here at school.”

Tables in the quad are typically more trash-free than the inside of the student center, which Torrens believes is because students are more used to the environment of their usual meeting place where they’ve already developed good habits. 

Maintenance head Paul Weir thinks that if pressed time is the reason students often leave trash behind, a five-minute warning from an alarm or student leader at the end of each lunch period in the student center could help curb the trash problem.

Students leaving their trash behind has also increased the burden of cleaning up campus for the maintenance department. Maintenance has added one more cleaning shift during lunch time to combat trash overflowing, Weir said.

Restrooms also need to be cleaned more frequently than before. Since there have been complaints about them being dirty throughout the day, maintenance added an extra hour of cleaning the restrooms.

“I’m hoping that the students notice our efforts,” Weir said.

The parking lot is also littered with trash when students come back from weekends and lunch. Pizza boxes and fast-food wrappings are often on the side of the roads, posing obstacles for cars driving through. It’s not only students who litter, but the community as a whole, school officials said. The maintenance department has noticed excessive trash in the parking lots after adults attend community events on weekends. 

“Some people have a higher conscious level and it's easy for them to throw things away,” Weir said. “Some people are used to having someone clean up after them, and they leave the stuff there.”

Despite trash being a significant issue around campus, Weir does not see major reasons for alarm. 

“I have a lot of respect for the student body,” Weir said,“They treat the school very well, and I appreciate that. There is room for us to improve and clean up a little bit, but we really appreciate their support and respect they show the campus and the staff.”


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