School bathrooms see a lot of activity throughout the day- all sorts of mundane and questionable things occur in a typical middle school bathroom.
While students use the facilities for the intended purpose, they also use school bathrooms to conduct other typical middle school activities, such as: gossiping, texting, crying, laughing, fighting with friends, avoiding class, applying makeup, and all sorts of shenanigans.
Fun Fact: I spent at least 10 hours of my eighth grade year in a school bathroom, with a hairbrush and a giant can of Aqua-net hairspray. A lot of time & effort went into sculpting those giant feathered 80’s bangs, people.
Middle school bathroom stalls usually contain a lot of obscene graffiti, too. But one school created their own positive style of bathroom graffiti last year- and the faculty members were the ones that created it.
Teachers at Warren Middle School Forney ISD in Forney, Texas exemplified the very best of encouraging educators by devoting hours of their free time to decorating the bathrooms of their school with inspiring messages for their students.
In July 2018, several teachers & members of the administration wanted to develop a more positive mindset for students, & returned to the campus throughout the summer in order to put their plan into action.
It’s no secret that young teenagers struggle with insecurities regarding their body image and self-worth.
So the staff took to creating inspiring slogans & messages to counteract that struggle by painting beautifully colorful reminders of just how awesome each student really is.
According to Warren Middle School principal Joshua Garcia, the intention of the unique bathroom art was to be a constant affirmation to students of their value. As he explained when interviewed by news station WFAA:
We just wanted them to see that everyday. And know that what is up there is true.
The positive messages included reminders like, “You are brave, strong, and amazing”, “Work hard. Dream big.”, “Real girls aren’t perfect. Perfect girls aren’t real.”
The participating teachers felt so strongly about conveying this message to their students that they gladly reported for decorating duty during the summer…. unpaid. Their efforts were strictly done out of love, for their students.
In an effort to generate excitement among parents and students, the staff had also chronicled their activities with a series of photos featuring their work in progress on the school’s Facebook page.
The school officially debuted their finished product on its Facebook page on July 23, 2018, and the community was thrilled with the positive message. An outpouring of positive comments flooded the page from community members that admired the staff’s handiwork.
The school also conducted a Facebook Live event three days later to share with families the details of the project, and to answer any questions.
The response to the project was overwhelmingly positive, and Warren Middle School’s efforts have clearly inspired other schools across the country to do the same for their own students.
As Assistant Principal Kristy Mach explained, they have received numerous requests from fellow educators asking for tips on how to create the same creative canvas of positivity. And that was precisely what the staff at Warren Middle School had hoped for:
It’s contagious. Our hope is that they would take what we’ve done and spread that to others.
Mach also went on to say that the simple messages have had a profound effect on the students. The school has reinforced to each child that they are valued, & worthy, which is a vital message for any adolescent to embrace:
Kids are searching for something positive, they’re searching for belonging, they’re searching for something to hold onto.
School bathrooms often serve as an escape for struggling students, offering a brief moment of respite from a hectic or difficult day. The positive messages that surround them in those moments at Warren are a profound reminder for them to be brave and dream big.
The staff at Warren Middle School Forney ISD deserves major props for their selfless devotion to their student body, & hopefully their inspiring efforts will continue to be contagious.