Recent intercom announcement encourages students to clean up lunch trash

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Custodians Frederick Robinson (right) and Greg Reinkenmeyer (left) clean up trash left behind during students after lunch. Reinkenmeyer said it is important for students to do their part in keeping the building clean and garbage-free.

Anna Wright

Custodians Frederick Robinson (right) and Greg Reinkenmeyer (left) clean up trash left behind during students after lunch. Reinkenmeyer said it is important for students to do their part in keeping the building clean and garbage-free.
Custodians Frederick Robinson (right) and Greg Reinkenmeyer (left) clean up trash left behind during students after lunch. Reinkenmeyer said it is important for students to do their part in keeping the building clean and garbage-free. Photo by Afsah Khan

In an intercom announcement yesterday at noon , Dr. Jennifer Mast, principal, reminded students of the importance that they dispose of their lunch trash in order to keep a clean school environment and reduce the stress put on janitors and custodians.

Custodial complaints lead her to relay the message to the student body, she said, bringing to light a problem with student responsibility which has been present at RBHS for quite some time.

“It’s been a long standing problem at Rock Bridge, many, many years we’ve had this issue. I don’t quite understand it, but for some reason a large number of students think– or just don’t think– that it’s O.K. to just finish their lunch and walk away,” Mast said. ” [We made] the announcement the week because it was the second time I had heard from the custodians.”

Mast said the reason this problem has been put on the back burner for so long is because the custodians are so efficient in cleaning up trash that students carelessly leave behind. It is now consuming far too much of their daily schedule, she said, which is what lead the administration to make Monday’s intercom announcement.

“What’s kind of kept us from harping a ton is how good the custodians have been at cleaning it up,” Mast said. “It’s horrid when everybody leaves, and they’re awesome at cleaning it up. The problem is they have so many other responsibilities during the day, they are now spending way too much time cleaning up after lunch.”

Sophomore Jazz White said that so far during her first year at RBHS, she hasn’t noticed any significant problems in terms of garbage throughout the school, likely because of the hard working custodial staff at RBHS. However, she said students need to remember it is not difficult to clean up after yourself and that this is an important aspect of respecting those who clean our school on a daily basis.

“For the most part, I don’t see that much trash around the building,” White said. “It’s not that hard to throw away your trash once you’re done with stuff. It makes the custodians’ jobs easier.”

Members of the custodial staff agree that students play a key role in helping to keep the building clean. Janitor Greg Reinkenmeyer said students should make an effort to dispose of their garbage so that the school remains a pleasant setting for learning to take place.

“Everybody should work as team,” Reinkenmeyer said. “It’s not just the custodians; it’s the student body that needs to help us as well to keep it a clean and safe environment.”

Cleaning up your trash after lunch is a responsibility which accompanies the freedom students have to eat anywhere throughout the building, Mast said. It only takes a few seconds to toss your tray into the trash, but it significantly improves the cleanliness of the school.

“We’ve put a large amount of trust in [the students] but in order to balance that, there’s a certain assumption that adults have to have that you’ll clean your stuff up,” Mast said. “The small details really do make a huge difference.”
By Anna Wright
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