East Meadow School District, students quarrel over lack of access to bathrooms
Students in the East Meadow School District say they are being locked out of restrooms for much of the day.
The students and the district say it's a health and safety issue, but for different reasons.
According to the school district, bathrooms are being locked during certain points of the day as a COVID safety measure.
Students, however, say it's causing another set of problems.
"It personally just feels humiliating," says Belinda Lee, a junior at East Meadow High School. "You're a human being, you know, you have to listen to your body if you have to go to the bathroom."
Belinda Lee is a junior at East Meadow High School — who says students are being locked out of most of the building's bathrooms throughout the day.
The district superintendent says two of the eight restrooms are closed between periods in response to the pandemic.
He wrote in a statement, "This policy was put in place for the safety of the students and staff as a way to reduce traffic in the bathrooms and prevent students congregating in large groups."
Belinda Lee and her twin sister April Lee says only one bathroom is consistently kept open and it's always busy.
Belinda Lee says she conducted a recent survey and 90% of nearly 300 students said they are affected by the closed bathroom
One wrote the policy causes "physical pain and discomfort during class," while others said it prevents them from using feminine hygiene products when needed.
Dr. Matthew Harris, a pediatrician with Northwell Health, says locking bathrooms presents dangers that should be avoided if other safety precautions are in place.
"If people are masked, socially distanced in the bathroom, it seems that closing them may not necessarily be the key here," Harris says.
Students tell News 12 they have been trying to convince administrators to change the rules for a while.
Nobody from the district would agree to an interview with News 12.