Tennessee middle school teachers redesign girls’ bathroom to empower students

Roane County school hangs signs of affirmation in girls' bathroom

(Jennifer Armes)

TEN MILE, Tenn. (WATE) – So often school bathrooms can be a negative experience, with graffiti written on walls that are mean or hurtful, contain cuss words, insults or even slander.

Principal Amy Cawood decided to redesign the bathrooms at Midway Middle School to give the bathroom a positive message. Teachers stayed after hours to paint positive messages on the bathroom walls.

“Middle school is a hard age for girls and boys,” admits Principal Cawood. “There is so much negativity related with this age group that we just felt like if they went to the bathroom and they were having a hard day that maybe they could see one of our sayings and maybe brighten up their day a little bit and give them a little more confidence in themselves.”

The bathroom doors have messages with sayings like “I am a girl. I am smart and I am strong and I can do anything.” Centered above the mirror in large blue lettering is a message that says “You are beautiful!!”

(Midway Middle School)

Cawood said she saw a school in another state that had done something similar. She shared photos of the school with her staff and they decided it would be a great thing to do at their middle school. She said three of her teachers, Sharon Parks, an 8th grade reading/language arts teacher, Rachel Burgess, a 7th grade reading/language arts teacher and Cara Reed, a 7th grade math teacher, took off with the idea.

“Yesterday was a half day, the first day our students came back and the girls absolutely loved it. The boys were a little jealous and wanted to know when their bathroom was going to be done because the girls were making such a positive commotion about it so we are going to get to the boys’ bathroom as well,” said Principal Cawood. “These teachers have stayed well past their work day to make sure on their own time to get the girls’ bathroom done and the boys’ bathroom will be done as well. Give us time.”

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