Students were late for class, so their school painted over bathroom mirrors
TORONTO -- In a move that would anger the Greek god Narcissus, a U.S. high school briefly painted over its students’ bathroom mirrors because staff said teens were taking too long looking at themselves.
This reportedly led to students showing up late for class, so Chattanooga Central High School in Tennessee appears to have taken drastic actions last week.
The odd solution came to peoples’ attention after Shelby Campbell, a former Central High graduate, posted a photo on Facebook. On Friday, she wrote, “today, my sister got to school to find out he spray painted all the mirrors in all the bathrooms... even prisons have mirrors.”
Campbell told WTVC that that same day, Campbell’s mother filed a formal complaint with the school district which reversed its actions within hours.
The principal left a school-wide voicemail apologizing for the decision, Campbell said. WTVC reported that part of the message said: “there was an issue about some mirrors being covered and those have been corrected.”
In Campbell’s Facebook post, which has since gone viral, she blamed the new principal for “turning (school) into something I am not proud of.” She also felt disappointed by the administration whose actions she called “unacceptable.”
“School isn't supposed to be miserable,” she wrote. “Yes, the work is important, but it is still a crucial part of social development and it can still be a place for fun.”
And Campbell wasn’t the only one expressing outrage.
The overwhelming response on the post from students and parents has been critical of the school’s actions. By Tuesday, more than 669 people shared Campbell’s post, which had also racked up more than 420 comments.
But the school is mum on who authorized the move to begin with.
Hamilton County School District spokesperson Tim Hensley confirmed to WTVC that an administrator, who the board refused to name, had tasked a worker to paint the mirrors.
Campbell said the mirrors aren’t for vanity, but are necessary for students to catch embarrassing details before heading to class.
"Being able to walk in and make sure nothing is in your teeth or make sure your hair isn't crazy,” she told WTVC, explaining that it helps students’ confidence.
“There's already so much going on with bullying and self-image problems in high school,” Campbell said, adding that instead of painting the mirrors, the school should have simply followed its own existing tardiness policies.