Bathrooms in Boston public schools are often unsanitary, "gross" and lack basics like toilet paper and hot water, according to a review by The Boston Globe.
Leaks and the stench of urine are prevalent, according to members of the school community. Feces and sanitary pads can be seen strewn on the floor.
Of 111 Boston Public School buildings surveyed by city public health inspectors, 89 had problems, the Globe wrote in a story on Saturday.
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A 2016 survey that included more than 2,000 students, parents and staff, meanwhile, found two-thirds of respondents rated bathrooms in the district as "poor" or "fair."
Health inspection data also suggests inequities in the severity of these issues. In Roxbury's Higginson/Lewis K-8 School, where 93 percent of the student body is black or Latino, inspectors found toilet paper in only one of 18 stalls.
The Kilmer K-8 School, meanwhile, appeared well stocked with no significant sanitary issues, inspectors reported.
“It’s a matter of public safety and health,” said Boston Teachers Union president Jessica Tang. “We shouldn’t have to advocate for things like that, but we did.”
According to Boston school officials, custodians are now better trained and expectations are clearer since this data was collected.
“All of our students deserve not only well-cleaned, well-stocked, and properly maintained restrooms, but clean and functional school building facilities,” Jessica Ridlen, the district’s director of communications, said in a statement.
Ridlen added on Saturday that Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and Mayor Martin J. Walsh have designated an additional $1.7 million for custodial staff in the budget for the upcoming school year. That budget is currently allocated at $24 million for the year.