STAFF EDITORIAL: Students must take responsibility and clean up after themselves

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Amodhya Samarakoon

When students leave their food and dishes at the lunch table, it forces the Taher Staff to clean up a mess that they should not have to clean up.

Think about the number of times during the day that chairs aren’t pushed in, lunch tables aren’t cleaned up,trash isn’t thrown away. The next day, the chairs are pushed in, the tables are cleaned, the trash and belongings that were left behind are put away. Because it’s all cleaned up almost magically over night, it’s easy to forget about it.

The maintenance crew’s job is to keep our school functioning properly. The American Building Maintenance staff’s job is to keep our school sanitary. The Taher staff is in charge of serving us food. They have a lot of jobs to do that are in their job description, such as keeping our school cooled and heated, keeping the bathrooms cleaned and well-stocked with supplies and keeping us feel fed. But it is not their job to clean up the messes left by students. It’s true, the maintenance and cleaning staff are out of sight, working hard after school or outside where we can’t really see them doing their job, but that does not mean they are out of mind. 

Scientifically, mess increases stress. Leaving stuff lying around may not seem like a problem to one person, but it could cause anxiety for the person that uses that space after them. According to Psychology Today, cluttered spaces can overwhelm the brain and make it hard to study and concentrate. Since this is a school, spaces should create a productive environment, not one that takes away from focus. 

Since this is a school, spaces should create a productive environment, not one that takes away from focus.

It may seem like not a big deal if one juice spill is left behind, but the longer a stain of liquid or crumbs is left in the carpet, the longer it takes for the cleaning crew to clean it up. And that work builds up if multiple students leave messes like that around the school. The school pays for the Taher staff and the American Building Maintenance, so if they have to stay over time cleaning up students’ messes, the school has to pay extra money.  

Here’s how to make their life easier: push in chairs, clean the lunch table, bus all of the used plates. It takes very little time to do the right thing. Treat this school like a friends house. Students are guests. Leaving a mess is disrespectful, disrespecting the space, the people using the space next, and the people who have to clean up the mess. And for those times something is spilled and students don’t have the tools to clean it, the maintenance could put accessible brooms, dustpans and disinfectant wipes on every floor so that students can clean up after themselves easily.