Bear Creek High School Students, Staff Express Concerns Over Limited Bathroom Access

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STOCKTON -- Every parent of a high school student wants their child to be safe on campus. But, should kids be locked out of some school bathrooms to make that happen?

It's a fact of life.

We all have to go, but some say finding a place for students to go around Bear Creek High School these days is not as easy as it should be.

The issue came up at a recent campus parent meeting about safety.

Coach Jennifer Barberis voiced concerns she had and ones that had been brought to her by students.

"Bathrooms are being locked up. That's a continuous problem. That is not OK with me, as a parent," Barberis said. "Something needs to be fixed. These bathrooms need to be open at all times for these students. They should not be locked. They should not have to go clear across campus or [have] no bathrooms at all."

Bear Creek's principal gathered parents together to talk about safety in the wake of three brawls when the Bruins took on Lincoln High School and two gun incidents tied to campus in the following week.

Principal Hillary Harrell said some bathrooms have become their own kind of battlefield.

"The bathrooms are a concern for me. Right now, I do have to limit student access to restrooms because of supervision and because of some security concerns," Harrell said. "I don't want your students going to the bathroom and having students rolling dice and smoking vape and smoking marijuana."

FOX40 attempted to talk about those problems with the Stockton police officer serving as the school's resource officer but the police department wouldn't allow an interview about those issues.

For its part, the Lodi Unified School District says there are two bathrooms in the middle of Bear Creek's sprawling campus that quote "remain open at all times while others are locked but still accessible with adult monitoring."

Students in need near those facilities -- while changing classes for instance -- would have to find an adult to leave the area they were already supervising to unlock a restroom.

Some just don't believe that's practical.

Principal Harrell admits with the safety challenges clawing at Bear Creek's day-to-day operations, there are no easy fixes to all this.

"The number of searches that administration has done because of those issues is absolutely mind-boggling. So I don't have a solution right now, for that," Harrell said.

She is looking to recent district approval for a new campus supervisor to help with bathroom monitoring during the school day.

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