MCCSC makes changes to custodial policies after North janitor’s arrest

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MCCSC makes changes to custodial policies after North janitor’s arrest

A sign for the Bloomington South locker rooms. This past month a North janitor was arrested for allegedly placing a phone in the girls locker room.

A sign for the Bloomington South locker rooms. This past month a North janitor was arrested for allegedly placing a phone in the girls locker room.

Calvin Prenkert

A sign for the Bloomington South locker rooms. This past month a North janitor was arrested for allegedly placing a phone in the girls locker room.

Calvin Prenkert

Calvin Prenkert

A sign for the Bloomington South locker rooms. This past month a North janitor was arrested for allegedly placing a phone in the girls locker room.

Calvin Prenkert, Editor

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Last week, a member of the Bloomington High School North custodial staff was arrested for allegedly placing a phone in a trashcan in the girl’s locker room and recording footage of those inside. Several girls participating in a local swim club found the custodian’s cell phone and turned it over to their coach. The news spread fast and led to an outcry from the public, who demanded action and a response from the Monroe County Community School Corporation and the North administration.

After multiple meetings with the community and discussion within the administration building, MCCSC superintendent Judith DeMuth sent an email out to all principals outlining new changes to policy regarding custodial staff and protocol when dealing with restrooms and locker rooms. The email details several changes, including “team cleaning,” where custodial staff will always be working in pairs while inside a locker room. This allows students to have cause for suspicion if a custodian is inside the locker room by themselves, and the hope is that they will alert staff or administrator if that occurs. 

At the high schools, locker room locks will be changed, and card access readers installed so we know who is in the locker rooms at all times,”

— Judith DeMuth

Additionally, DeMuth noted that extra precautions will be taken to prevent cell phone usage inside the locker rooms and to monitor who goes in and out of the locker rooms.

“At the high schools, locker room locks will be changed, and card access readers installed so we know who is in the locker rooms at all times,” DeMuth wrote. “No cellphone or cameras are to be used in locker and restrooms by those cleaning. [Custodians must] step out into the hall to take a call.”

For those affected, DeMuth assured that counselors and social workers will be available, and that for any students who have questions or additional information, they should contact an administrator.

Jay True, assistant principal at South, considers it a top priority of the administration to uphold and protect the interest and safety of the students and their privacy. South, like North, will take on these new policies DeMuth outlined in an effort to avoid the occurrence of a similar incident.

“We are going to step up our locker supervision. PE teachers and coaches will have a schedule, and administrators will be making routine checks. We will limit the locker room usage for outside groups,” True said.

From True’s perspective, he sees this incident as a result of a changing world, one where it’s hard to protect the privacy and safety of students when everyone has smartphones that do so many things.

“In this day and age, everyone carries a movie camera in their pocket; it’s something we didn’t use to think of before, but we have to take it into account now,” True said. “Ten or 20 years ago, we would’ve never allowed a video camera into a classroom or locker room.”

While he hopes that the stricter locker room regulations and updated security will effectively combat the problem and keep South students safe, he also hopes that the community will be able to differentiate the perverted actions of one custodian from the rest of the MCCSC custodial staff.

“Our [staff] takes pride in what they do and work hard, it’s really unfortunate that one bad apple is trying to taint the whole bunch,” True said.

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