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Wiggins High School removes stalls in several boys' bathrooms amid vandalism

Wiggins boys bathroom stalls removed
Posted at 9:19 PM, May 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-06 17:19:05-04

WIGGINS, Colo. — Continuous vandalism in the Wiggins High School boys' bathrooms led to a drastic move that left several parents and students speechless, but one that school officials still stand by.

Last week, the school, located an hour northeast of Denver, removed the bathroom stalls in their educational wing where all core classes are taught, leaving dozens of students with no choice but to use a restroom without partitions to protect their comfort and privacy.

Wiggins boys bathroom stalls removed

"I wasn't going to go to the restroom openly in front of people," freshman Aidan Burton said. "We should have our privacy. We shouldn't get punished for one person's doing."

"I thought it was a just a high school prank," said Katie Burton, Aidan's mother.

It wasn't too long after that when Katie learned the removal of boys bathrooms stalls was no joke.

Denver7 first learned about the matter after obtaining an email sent by Denver attorney Igor Raykin to the district, demanding that the removed partitions be put back up.

Wiggins School District RE-50J Superintendent Trent Kerr told Denver7 that the vandalism inside the boys' bathroom stalls — which included racist remarks, hate speech and inappropriate images — had gotten worse over the last month and required continuous repairs plus hours of surveillance footage review by school staff.

"I don't agree with writing anything graffiti or inconsiderate about others, but I also don't agree with punishing innocent people and entire class of children, boys mainly," Katie said. "Where's the expectation of privacy? They even took down the sidewalls for when they use the urinals. They have to expose themselves completely."

Parents received an email from the district last week, which said the decision to remove bathroom stalls wasn't an easy one.

"Our administrative team has exhausted our options trying to determine the guilty student or students with no luck. We are sorry that the situation has come to this," the email reads.

Wiggins bathroom stalls removed
Wiggins School District email sent to parents

The high school shares the building with Wiggins Middle School as well, meaning middle school boys are also impacted.

"He doesn't want to go into the restroom, and he doesn't want to go there because he doesn't have no privacy," said Pete Pacheco, whose son is an eighth grader at Wiggins Middle School. "They should have came to the parents, kept us in the loop through the whole step of the process and, you know, we could have probably came together and figured something out instead of just doing what they're doing now."

"What has failed to be mentioned by anyone is that there is a “family” restroom option for students that has a locked door in the main hallway," a statement from Superintendent Kerr says in part. "There are partitioned stalls in the cafeteria bathroom, and in the locker rooms. There are 11 divided stalls in the secondary building alone, not to mention two more stalls in the CTE building. One might ask. “Why were these partitions not taken down?” Because for over 20 years no student has defaced these stalls! Imagine that, no action leads to no reaction. Did the district completely take away all privacy for students?; the simple answer is no. Did the district violate student rights or “dehumanize” our male student body? NO!"

The full statement can be found below:

Kerr's statement infers that other restrooms with partitions were available for students, but an email obtained by Denver7 between the school's principal and school staff suggests otherwise.

"If you have males leaving class to use the restroom, please inform them they are not allowed to go to the locker rooms or gym area. They are to use the nearest bathroom and return to class in a timely manner," the email said in part.

principal email.jpg

Kerr told Denver7 the Board of Education did not formally vote on the stall removal during a board meeting. However, he said he discussed the plan with the board and the school district's attorneys prior to making the decision.

The stall removal does violate plumbing code, according to Kerr, and crews have begun the re-installation process.

Denver7 offered Kerr an interview opportunity both through email and in-person, but he declined.

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