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Community speaks out against New Milford public schools new bathroom policy to prevent vaping

NEW MILFORD -- Students, parents and teachers are up in arms over a new bathroom policy that has been enforced to prevent vaping in the schools.

Students now only have a short period of time to use the bathroom during their hours at school. The community is speaking up against the policy and said it is unfair to punish everyone.

Vaping is an epidemic that is becoming all too common among teenagers and young adults. It has become a serious trend that school officials in New Milford felt as if they had to put their foot down.

A letter was sent home to parents two weeks ago. In it, the principal talked about a new bathroom policy with hopes it will prevent vaping on school grounds.

It stated the bathrooms on the second and third floors will be closed during lunches and passing times. However, the bathrooms on the first floor will be open throughout the day.

Students said that is an unreasonable policy.

"It’s like it makes me late to class and then when I’m in class, I’m out for a long time because we have to go from the third floor to the first floor just to use the bathroom," said Sydney Croshank, a student at New Milford High School.

"I drink a lot of water during the day so like if I have to go to the bathroom, it makes it a lot more difficult," said Avery Langlois, also a student at the high school.

The topic has gotten many people fired up to the point where Nicollette Barile, a student herself, started a petition.

The petition was started Tuesday and already, it has gotten close to 300 signatures as of Wednesday evening.

"The teachers I feel like the teachers are against it the ones I’ve talked to because they get in trouble if they don’t have everyone sign in and sign out. By the end of the week, they’ll check on a Friday to see who’s been signing in and who’s been signing out. If something’s empty, they get in trouble," said Barile.

Her father, Dean Barile was one of the many who signed it.

"It doesn’t seem to address the problem. It seems more like a bureaucratic approach to trying to address a problem without really addressing the  root of the problem and it ends up hurting more people than it actually helps," said Dean Barile.

FOX61 reached out to Superintendent Kelly Parker for a comment on the policy and in an email to FOX61, she said:

“No student has spoken with Principal Shugrue about the restroom issue or the petition. No one has spoken with me about their concerns or the petition. Principal Shugrue said he would be happy to speak with the students about their concerns in order to work on a compromise.”

Nicollette said she plans on bringing the petition to the next Board of Education meeting next week and she is urging the public to show up in numbers to show their support.

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