Taking out the trash


Bri Branscomb

Students at our school quite often make messes of their lunches. Some throw it away, but others leave it it behind in expectations another will clean it up.

Chances are if you look around our school you’ll see a lot of trash just hanging around. Whether it’s old food wrappers, random pieces of paper, or a mysterious brown mush chilling on the wall, it’s there. We’re teenagers and while we are messy, it’s not really an excuse.

The people who have to clean up our food remnants or whatever that brown mush really is are our schools lovely custodians. They get here in the mid-afternoon and leave late at night, spending the majority of their time cleaning up our trash. It’s their job, and what they get paid to do, but let’s be honest, no one wants to clean up the concoction you decided to make at lunch of your mashed potatoes and chocolate milk, or the splattered apple you threw at a wall. It’s rude to think, “Hey I can be as disgusting as I want and have someone else clean it up because they can’t complain since that’s what they get paid to do!”

A quick look at a human resources description for the duties of a custodian will show you that nowhere on the list does it say “clean up after other people”. We’re completely able to throw away our empty chip bag. It doesn’t take much effort. Pick up trash, walk to trash can, throw away trash. It’s pretty basic manners to clean up after yourself. We’re not 5 years old anymore. We can make sure that we don’t leave that chocolate potato surprise behind for someone else to handle, especially someone who already spends so much time and effort making our school as nice as it is.

It’s time for all of us to start respecting our custodians more and recognizing them as hardworking employees of our school, not just people who are around to clean up after everything you do. They come here to earn a living and provide for their families, just like anyone else who works here. All of us, student and staff, can be respectful and throw our food, papers, or other small pieces of garbage away. We can mop up the drink we spilled, or help pick up something that was dropped.

It doesn’t mean that you’re doing the custodians job for them, or giving them an easy way out. It means you’re recognizing that you help make a mess here, and being respectful enough to do something about it. So please, pick up your own trash today. Please.