Raise your hand if you have a memory of hiding in the bathroom in middle school. 🙋🏽♀️ Some of us might have been hiding from bullies while some of us might have been hiding our tears or an embarrassing red stain on our jeans.
When you're in seventh grade and having a hard day, a bathroom stall can feel like a refuge, but an institutional lavatory is hardly an uplifting environment. Hope and positively are pretty much the least likely kind of message to be found on bathroom stall walls, but some artistic educators are changing that, just in time for a new school year.
This is a new kind of writing on the bathroom wall, and the faculty at Warren Middle School in Forney, Texas think it has the potential to help kids feel less alone, even when they've gone to the only place in school where they can be.
"Middle school can be difficult years for students," Kristy Mach, one of the Assistant Principals at Warren Middle School tells Motherly via email. "Students are longing for a sense of belonging and searching for something to hold on to—we hope this does just that."
According to Mach, who is seen showing off the door art in a viral video posted to the school's Facebook page, the staff at Warren have recently "seen an increase in students struggling with low confidence and self worth," and when they saw images online of other schools' bathrooms made over with uplifting mottos and mantras, they were inspired to pick up some paintbrushes, too.
"Our principal, Mr. Josh Garcia, wanted to bring positivity to our campus for this new school year," Mach explains. "I had seen other campuses do bathroom projects, and wanted to bring it to our school...We wanted to find a way to lift up our students and show them our teachers at Warren genuinely care and love them."
The teachers poured over Pinterest to find designs and inspiring sayings that would speak to students. Once they'd decided on the designs, a team of school staff used a projector to trace images onto the bathroom doors before filling them in with paint. Some of the designs were also drawn free hand by Tara Torres, one of the art teachers at Warren.
Mach says the effort from the staff members was just phenomenal, but suggests other schools (who aren't doing this during summer vacation) might want to get the kids involved, to give them some ownership and pride in the project. Because the kids at Warren are still out on summer vacation, students weren't involved in this particular bathroom makeover, but Mach says the few who have come by for a sneak peek have been super excited about it.
"A few previous students expressed they wished it had been done while they were on our campus," she tells Motherly.
Mach says she's not sure how the paint will hold up to wear and tear over the school year, but she's confident the students will embrace and not deface the messages, and that the quotes on the stall doors will build a sense of belonging and ownership on campus.
Exactly how the messages impact the students will be seen this school year, but one thing is already clear: This artwork is the most beautiful thing we've ever seen written on a bathroom stall.