The Legacy of Ipswich High School’s Bathroom Doors


Amanda Nardo and Kyleigh Larson, Journalists

In recent years, vaping has drastically increased among the younger population. A reported thirty-three deaths, as of October 17, 2019, have been connected to vaping-related lung illnesses, and this nationwide outbreak is continuing to grow. Eighty percent of these vaping cases are happening to people under the age of thirty-five. In many school systems, students are vaping in the bathrooms, inhaling the deadly chemicals. In Alabama, a student was found passed out in the bathroom because of vaping.

This school knew that they had to take more serious measures to try and prevent this from happening. The Principal took some of the bathroom stall doors off to see if vaping would decrease. There was another case at Broadneck High School in Maryland in 2018 where the school took about half of the bathroom stall doors off. The “officials at the school near Cape St. Claire added doorstops to prop the doors open, but those were kicked off. So, the doors were removed Tuesday, Mosier said, and will remain removed until further notice.” A senior from this school said, “the removal of the doors is detrimental to student privacy” and that “it’s inconvenient and embarrassing.”

There have been many more instances where bathroom doors have been removed including Ipswich High School. Many students who aren’t vaping believe that the removal violates their privacy and is awkward for them to go to the bathroom. However, taking the bathroom doors off seemed to reduce the vaping in school.

We began our research by interviewing three people who represented different groups in the school: the Principal, staff, and students. It was interesting to see the differences, yet similarities in the responses given. 


Do you think the removal of the bathroom doors has been successful? 

“It seems to have been. I’ve found vaping is a social thing, and it is easier to vape in groups of 4 or 5 rather than alone.” – Mr. Mitchell

“No, because it doesn’t stop someone from going into the stall” – Anonymous Junior 


Do you believe the vaping done in the bathrooms has decreased? 

“It seems like it. A lot fewer people have been caught this year.” – Mr. Mitchell

“Yes, it has decreased, but not because of the doors; kids are getting scared of the consequences of vaping.” – Anonymous Junior

“No idea,” is what Ms. Panciera told us. She asked, “Are people listening to the news and making better decisions about it?”


Will you ever decide to put the bathroom doors back on? 

“We can think about it if the vaping subsides” – Mr. Mitchell


What do you think about the privacy given now the doors have been removed?

“It bothers me how I can hear other people going to the bathroom” -Anonymous Junior 

“Abusing freedom violates privacy, and vaping was getting out of control, so they took students freedom away by taking bathroom doors away” – Ms. Panciera