Bathroom billboards raise awareness of important issues
A bathroom stall may not seem like the most obvious place to launch an awareness initiative, but that’s what a group of people are doing at Hargrave High School in Huffman.
A subgroup of the School Health and Advisory Committee, which is made of students, parents, principal Brandon Perry, and Librarian Misti Ferguson puts up a new poster every Monday on the inside door of all 65 bathroom stalls at the school to raise awareness about issues and topics relating to and affecting teenagers.
“It’s kind of a captive audience,” said Ferguson, who serves as the mentor for the Peer Assistance and Leadership group. “And sometimes students don’t want to pause or stop to read a bulletin board. Maybe it’s something that they’re embarrassed about, a topic that they don’t want their friends to know they’re reading about.”
Some of the topics coordinate with wider initiatives, such as National Suicide Prevention Month (September) or Red Ribbon Week (a drug prevention campaign, the week of Oct. 22), and others are topics that the committee thinks are important for teenagers to be aware of, such as sexting, vaping, drinking, and teen pregnancy.
Some topics are more light hearted (e.g. The Power of a Smile) and some are more serious (e.g. suicide prevention).
The initiative’s goal is simply to raise awareness, to make students stop and think about an issue.
The topic for the week of Oct. 8 was sexting, a subject that Ferguson said some students laughed about.
“It’s something that happens,” she said. “And they need to realize that, when they’re sharing those pictures, depending on their age and who they’re sharing it with, that’s considered child pornography, and I don’t think they stop to think about that sometimes.”
Possession of child pornography is a third degree felony in Texas. Possession of child pornography with intent to distribute it is a second degree felony in Texas.
The group met earlier in the semester and has the topics planned out for each week for the rest of the fall semester. They will meet later on in the fall semester to plan the topics for the spring semester.
Ferguson hopes this “Bathroom Billboard” project becomes a yearly event.
Cassandra MacGregor, a Hargrave parent who is involved with the SHAC, designs each of the posters.
“I hope this project makes a positive impact in some kind of way,” Ferguson said. “If it can help one teen, or it makes one person feel confident, or they pass something on to somebody else, we’ve accomplished our goal.”