Should School Showers be Required – Yes

As teenagers sweat profusely in their physical education class, the stench grows quickly.  Without a cleansing shower, the odor wafts about them as they travel to other classrooms. The smell inevitably distracts a majority of the class as they attempt to ignore the powerful scent. School showers should be required for a student to receive an ‘A’ in their physical education class.  However, privacy issues should be addressed and teachers should emphasize the benefits of proper hygiene to one’s overall health.

Respecting Privacy

Lack of privacy is one of the current drawbacks with requiring teenagers to shower after physical education class. Historically, schools provide a large, communal shower. This is a major problem for both teenage males and females who are typically extremely self-conscious of their bodies. As a result, many teens shy away from showering in public places, preferring to wait until they get home.

To address this issue, schools should install a variety of private stall showers with attached changing rooms. The showers could include dispensers with soap and shampoo, making the process convenient as well. In addition, providing a linen service for students much like a hotel pool location would prevent wet towels from molding in gym lockers. Making the showering process easy, private, and a tad luxurious would encourage teens to participate.

Teaching Hygiene Trends

Physical education often includes a health component.  Quite often, proper hygiene leads to correct health and nutrition.  It never fails, however, that more than one teenager sleeps in and rushes to school in the morning, forgetting to shower in the process.  Showering after a physical education class would catch that student, helping to contribute to a healthier learning environment.  Students would breathe easier and not be distracted by a neighbor’s sweaty odor.

If showering patterns continue to cause problems for schools due to high water use or not having enough hot water, teachers could always opt for a shower rotation schedule. They could also only require students to shower on particularly active days or in warm weather environments.  In other words, flexibility and imagination is the key for a teacher to emphasize hygiene while promoting health in teenagers.

When young children get dirty at the park or get grimy at the beach, they come home and their parents expect them to bathe. So, too, should schools hold teenagers accountable for proper hygiene. Hand in hand with expecting proper nutrition to be served at lunch, parents should expect schools to emphasize cleanliness as an essential life skill. Requiring showers after physical education class, while offering privacy and teaching proper hygiene would satisfy this expectation.