OPINION: Custodians can’t fix issues they don’t know about

Custodian Ivan Barbalho fixing the ceiling tiles.

Custodian Ivan Barbalho fixing the ceiling tiles.

Lara Delvecchio

Lara Delvecchio

Custodian Ivan Barbalho fixing the ceiling tiles.

By Monica Barker, Opinion Editor

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As most girls at West Essex would know, during the 2017-2018 school year, the girls cafeteria bathroom started to fall apart. After speaking to faculty about the broken stall doors and missing toilet paper dispensers, many wondered whether they’d be fixed quickly – or at all. It turns out that there was a simple explanation for the delay in repair work: The custodial staff wasn’t fully aware of the specific repairs needed.

“We try to stay on top of things, but there is so much going on during the day, we don’t know about a lot of it,” said Taulant Feti, director of buildings and grounds for the district. “We have a work system that works with what comes in and out of the school, [and] we try to prioritise.”

Over the summer, the custodial staff remodeled several classrooms, renumbered parking spots, relined the parking lot, worked on transitioning the school to LED lighting and much more, and are now in the process of getting the bathroom fixed.

“We do what we can to move forward — there is always so much going on,” custodian Steven Siragusa said.

What most students at West Essex tend to do is murmur under their breath, but never speak up when there is an issue within the school. Something they don’t realize is, the custodial staff won’t know if something is wrong unless they’re told.

“We aren’t only keeping up with everyday things but we have all through the year projects, areas that we continue to improve,” Secretary Shara Lekston said.

If we want changes done more quickly, one thing is clear: Students need to step up and present the issues they see. Obviously, many teens don’t feel comfortable barging into the custodial office and saying what needs to be looked into, therefore we should meet in the middle.

Here’s one potential idea: Between staff and students, a Google Forms should be posted on every grade’s Google Classroom, where students can report issues and send them in. This way, staff can take action on the problems getting to them when possible.

“It would be helpful to have a say in what gets fixed around the school,” senior Ryan Leach said.

Teens don’t always feel comfortable confronting administrations with issues they see around the school. This generation revolves around technology, why not take advantage of that and make a change. Not only changes to satisfy students at West Essex, but to keep custodians in the loop, not just blame them.

Behind the Byline
Monica Barker, Opinion Editor

Monica Barker is an Opinion Editor for The Wessex Wire. She is often caught cruising around town in her car or shopping with Megan. She is a competitive...

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OPINION: Custodians can’t fix issues they don’t know about