School loos low on supplies


POSTED: Friday, May 01, 2009

Big Island resident Ben Gilson said he's upset that his three sons can't get soap and paper towels in school restrooms, especially in light of the threat of swine flu.

“;How can you teach principles of life if you can't teach cleanliness?”; said Gilson, a former medical technologist.

Gilson said his family has been complaining to Gov. Linda Lingle and state education officials.

Hawaii education officials said yesterday in a memorandum that schools should keep full supplies of soap and towels in restrooms.

Officials acknowledged the availability of soap and paper towels has been spotty in school restrooms because of vandalism and theft.

“;Not every school has a culture respectful of school supplies,”; said Randy Moore, an assistant schools superintendent.

Officials said in some instances when there are no supplies due to vandalism or theft, the teachers dispense the soap, paper towels and toilet tissue out of their classrooms.

But Gilson said that while vandalism and thievery are bound to happen, they should not keep students from sanitary practices in restrooms.

At Nanakuli High & Intermediate School, janitors fill the dispensers in the bathroom in the mornings, but the supplies could be gone before lunch because of vandalism and theft, said James Keli'i, a teacher.

“;The schools have done everything possible to have the soap and tissues available,”; said Keli'i, also president of the Nanakuli High Parent Teacher Student Association.

Some students take paper towels, dampen them into a wad and throw them onto the ceiling.

Keli'i said Nanakuli also has a large homeless population, and some of the homeless students have taken the supplies to their families living on the beach.