Garfield High School closed its second and third floor bathrooms to students last month after rumors circulated throughout the school that students were being robbed in the restroom.
The rumors became pervasive enough that school officials took action, closing four of the school’s nine bathrooms (all boys’ restrooms) for three days in early October, according to Seattle school district spokesman Teresa Wippel.
The school’s principal went as far as notifying the school’s parent/teacher association about the rumors, but because Garfield staff were unable to identify any suspects, or find any victims, they did not report the rumors to police.
Wippel says Garfield closed the bathrooms in order to “isolate where [the incidents were] happening” so security and administrators could monitor the situation. “The rumors stopped once they did that,” she says.
Asked whether it was unusual for the school to shut down half the bathrooms at a school with approximately 1600 students over a rumor, Wippel says the school “want[ed] to make sure our students feel safe.”