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Vandalism vs. Activism This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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During my study hall I walked into the third-floor bathroom. It was clean and hygienic, a feature that most of us take for granted. Sixty percent of the world's population does not have access to toilets. That's 4.2 billion people! Students in the U.S. are lucky to have access to sanitary, safe bathrooms, but we rarely think about it because they are cleaned by custodians.

Which brings me back to my story. I was washing my hands when I observed the student next to me repeatedly pushing the soap dispenser, creating a puddle of suds on the floor.

“Why are you doing that?” I asked.

“I don't know,” he replied. His posture, his clothing, his mumbling, everything proclaimed, “I don't care what anyone thinks about me.”

“That's f**ked up,” I told him. “You're just making the janitor's job harder.”

“I don't care,” he mumbled.

I understand being anti-authority or rebellious. I agree there are aspects of our schools that need to be improved. But I am making a simple plea that we stop vandalizing the school buildings. It doesn't make a statement to the administration; it only inconveniences someone whose job it is to make the buildings a pleasant space for us to learn. Vandalizing your school shows entitlement, not defiance.

This issue hits close to home for me. My grandparents worked as night custodians at the University of Massachusetts. They told me stories about college kids who deliberately made messes. One student taunted my 60-year-old grandfather by dumping the contents of a trash can onto the floor in front of him.

If you want to make a difference, get involved in a club or a cause. Make a positive impact in your school and your community – not a mess on the bathroom floor. F

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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RunnerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 12:51 pm:
Thanks, that's what I was going for... trying to raise awareness.
 
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IlovemeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 11 at 12:19 pm:
This is so true. I think everyone needs to acknowledge and respect fellow humans. We are too callous
 
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