Thousands who rolled out of bed early Saturday for Hands On DC, the annual cleanup effort to spruce up D.C. schools, found more than enough to do. But my sense is the organizers were hoping to lure volunteers to return next year by keeping them out of the places that need the most work: boys’ bathrooms. I checked them out (when a girl’s got to go….) at both Jefferson Junior High in Southwest and Anacostia Senior High in Southeast. Talk about depressing. In Anacostia, all but one of the faucets weren’t working and two of the toilets were covered in duct-taped garbage bags. In both, janitors sloppily stored cleaning supplies in one of the stalls and those supplies didn’t do a whole lot to mitigate the smell.
But, hey, call me a hypocrite, but I’d rather paint over graffiti in a stairwell than deal with it. The truth is, the teams at Anacostia, which was built in 1935 and looks like it, did seem to make a small difference. They replaced ratty carpet in the library, weeded out an overgrown courtyard and planted professional-looking flower beds around the entrance. They slapped bright red paint on the front doors and an industrial beige (the can said “Swiss Chocolate,” but I have my doubts) in the stairwells. Unfortunately there wasn’t much they could do with the dark, dank basement cafeteria. Although I didn’t see this there, it did make me appreciate the small-town public school I went to, K-12 in one building, graduating class of 90 kids.
Any volunteers out there? Which school inside DCPS needs the most love? Tell us what you think.