Hallways shouldn’t be a no-fly zone during lunches

Gabrielle Parrish, Staff Writer

Recently, Liberty closed the hallway outside of the main gym during lunches. Although the vending machines are still open, students no longer have access to the restrooms, drinking fountains, or benches downstairs. But what is the point of having these facilities if students are not allowed to use them during lunch, the time when most students really would be using them?
According to Liberty’s assistant principal, Andrew Brownson, the main reason that the hallway has been closed during lunches is because several cases of vandalism occurred in the bathrooms outside the main gym. Plus, it’s difficult for faculty members to supervise downstairs.
But, the entire hallway shouldn’t need to be closed if only the bathrooms were impacted by the vandalism.
While this is an important issue for the school to address, the supervision in the other bathrooms around the school is equally limited, so closing only the bathrooms downstairs—and only during lunch time—Wis an unrealistic long term solution. By depriving students of the use of the facilities downstairs, faculty tries to solve a problem that exists with specific students at the expense of the student body.
Additionally, the vending machines are still accessible, but the nearby water fountain is not. So why are students trusted to go downstairs to purchase food or water, but not to get water from the drinking fountain right next to them? Personally, I would much rather fill up my own water bottle for free.
Only having one drinking fountain anywhere near the lunch room, and it being on the other side of the PAC, is one of the primary difficulties for students caused by the hallway closure. In order to get free water during lunch, students now have to make the journey across the lunch room and past crowds of people clustered on and around the benches outside the auditorium.
This area has also become more crowded since the downstairs hallway was closed because it causes the students who preferred the benches outside the gym to move to the cafeteria or the crowded benches outside the PAC.
By periodically closing the downstairs hallway, Liberty is limiting students’ access to the facilities that were positioned intentionally to be convenient for students in the cafeteria. Although the school’s efforts to reduce vandalism are appreciated, completely closing off the bathrooms is not a permanent solution, and closing the entire hallway prevents students from accessing school facilities.