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Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

Lack Of Mirrors Reflect New Vape Statistics

Daisy Ray

If you were to walk into a girl’s bathroom on any random day at Highland, you would likely find one or multiple groups of girls. Whether they’re actually using the bathroom for its purpose or socializing between or during class, it is a common place where you can find different friends mingling.
Is the boy’s bathroom any different? It would be hard for anyone at Highland to tell because you wouldn’t commonly see someone utilizing both bathrooms daily. People aren’t typically talking about what goes on in the restrooms. It’s not a point of conversation to tell each other what you’re using it for.
However, one distinct difference that has been brought up more recently: aside from a singular mirror in the boy’s bathroom across from the main office, no other boy’s bathrooms have mirrors.
Compared to the girl’s bathrooms with mirrors over every sink along with a full-length mirror against the wall, this has come as a shock to many. People are wondering why this is, if it has always been this way, or if there are any plans to change this.
Highland Principal Jeremy Chatterton also found this to be an interesting fact but was not sure exactly why that was.
“My guess would be that they were getting etched,” Chatterton said. “So, they were just taken out and never replaced.”
Although this seems like an inconsequential issue that is just a mere misunderstanding, there are more statistics tied to these small differences between bathrooms.
Vice-Principal Kim Parkinson has seen differences between bathrooms that can be tied to mirrors. With her sister working as Vice Principal for Hillcrest High School, they were transitioning into their new building and had not yet put mirrors up in any bathrooms. While this was happening, all the vaping and marijuana issues in the bathrooms dropped to almost zero. The singular bathroom that got mirrors before the others showed a new rise in issues.
“I think it [a mirror] is just an attraction for a hang out spot,” Parkinson said. “And then you start looking in the mirror, maybe you’re doing your makeup, maybe you’re kind of just doing some stuff, then you just start hanging out.”
On November 21st, 2023, in a one-hour period, there were ten vape detections in the girl’s bathrooms compared to four in the boys. This doesn’t mean this is accurate for an entire day, or that those ten detections were all separate vapes or situations. There are two detectors in each bathroom. One incident can set off both, and depending on the time frame, can set off the same detector multiple times.
The detectors cannot give a completely accurate statistic for vaping in the bathrooms, especially between girl’s and boy’s bathrooms. However, administrative staff has found that typically more girls are being searched than boys.
“We definitely have more hanging out happening in girl’s bathrooms then in boy’s bathrooms, but I don’t know why that is,” Chatterton said. “Boys don’t seem to hang out so much in the bathrooms, girls we get more hangouts.”
Despite discrepancies between both restrooms, there are separate statistics showing that there have been major drops in rates with boys and girls alike. Between two surveys taken by freshmen and juniors in both 2019 and the 2022-2023 school years, there have been drastic drops in consumption of alcohol and vaping. The survey proved that there is more perceived drug and alcohol usage than actual consumption.
“[On the question of who has seen others drinking] alcohol in the past 30 days, the perception is that 28% of our students have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days, but the reality is 6%,” Chatterton said. “Same with used marijuana in the past 30 days, the reality is 6%. Then this is the one I think the most interesting, just used a vape product, the perceived is 37% and the actual is 5.6%.”
When students are walking into bathrooms and seeing groups of people gathered around each other, the immediate jump is to think they are doing something they’re not supposed to in school. However, the reality is rates are going down and it’s happening significantly less consistently than people think.
Similarly, students might see the same person vaping or drinking and not recognize or consider that it’s the same person they were seeing before. This warps the perception of how frequently it’s happening and how many students are involved.
“I think when people go into the bathrooms and you see ten people in there and there’s a vape or multiple vapes, I think people are like ‘every time I go into the bathroom there’s vaping going on and there’s this going on and I’m seeing it all the time,’” Chatterton said. “But I think what the reality is, is that if you think about, again I’m always talking about this 90/10 rule, but like 90% of our students are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
There’s not enough evidence yet to know if mirrors or lack thereof have ties to increased or decreased usage of vapes, marijuana or alcohol. However, the coincidence calls for consideration of whether mirrors are helping the student body, and whether or not they should be replaced in the boy’s bathrooms.

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