Bathroom Ban Leads To Riot At NYC High School

Students Say Revolt Came In Response To Overly Strict Policies

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — Hundreds of students at Murry Bergtraum High School took a stand this week after being told they couldn’t use the bathrooms at school.

Fed up with what some say are strict policies, crowds of angry teens rushed the Manhattan school’s halls, creating chaos, reports CBS 2’s Derrick Dennis.

It was literally a riot — students crowded the hallways, screaming at the top of their lungs and protesting what they said was the principal’s decision to close all the bathrooms to students.

“What happened was two students started fighting, and the principal got mad, and closed all the bathrooms, and then all the kids went crazy and just started a riot,” one student said.

The unrest happened Thursday in the middle of the school day.

Students said Principal Andrea Lewis, who started at the school just this fall, got on the loudspeaker and announced bathroom access would be restricted, after what students said were two fights that broke out during class.

1010 WINS Reporter Glenn Schuck finds out what happened at the Manhattan school

The principal is also accused of threatening that anyone caught fighting again would be arrested.

When asked if Lewis did indeed close all the bathrooms, one student said, “You can say that, but she did say if it’s an emergency you can use the bathroom at the nurse’s office. Everybody got mad and it started a riot.”

The bathroom ban was apparently the last straw at the 2,400-student school next to the Brooklyn Bridge. The building is equipped with its own surveillance video, which school officials said was used to identify those involved in the riot, leading to some being disciplined.

But students said it’s the principal who needs discipline over her strict no-bathroom policy.

One student said the principal’s actions were unprecedented.

“No, this was the first time, because she’s really upset,” the student said.

  • DavidArizona

    Keepin it real in the hood!

  • axxis

    So does the principal.

    • JohnD

      Hey moron, there is nothing wrong with the principal. Sounds like this is a predominately black school populated with thugs.

      • Kim

        You are clearly RACIST and its sad because this is 2011 and you can’t give black people a break. FYI the majority of the school is hispanic, and the students who fought initially were hispanic and white. And the student discovered of starting the riot was white. You need to mature mentally and put your racist ways aside. You disgust me, and you should be quite ashamed.

  • Paul

    Is black your family name?

  • alterman156

    The bathrooms in the schools should never be locked for any reason since anyone might need to use it to take care of an urgent need in a hurry. The best thing to do is to require a hall pass which can double as a bathroom pass and a teacher can leave a hall pass right at the classroom door so that a student can grab one in the event they need to use the bathroom an in emergency.

  • ExCop

    Why does the caption under the photo say the school is in Brooklyn?

  • Bob Fowler

    When did it become acceptable to riot in high school? When the principal punishes the group, she is wrong, but what other alternative was there? Selecting the few trouble makers is cause for lawsuits nowadays. Parents don’t care about raising their children, as seen by the behavior of these students.

    It is against the law to have monitors in the bathrooms, as that is an invasion of privacy. Short of personal bathroom escorts, who have been duly deputized law enforcement officials, what were her alternatives? Of course, it’s Bush’s, Cheney’s, Obama’s, Bloomberg’s…fault. It is certainly not the responsibility of those that spawned these miscreants.

    • DanTe

      Don’t you need your principal’s permission first before posting? NO BATHROOM FOR YOU!

      • Gnostradamus

        No one’s blamed those conservative deities, but obviously you need to point it out.

  • guyfawks

    the students were right on they have a right to determine when they see fit that they have to go to the bathroom, this isn’t nazi germany, telling kids they can’t use a bathroom , treating humans like animals!! the kids were right on !! im glad some americans still have a spine!!! wake up people, you are lossing your rights and your libertys, now there are t.vs in walmart telling you to report people!! now this 1984 people, 1984!!

    • DanTe

      But you’re WRONG, it IS Nazi Germany. Bloomberg’s Nazi Machine appointed this dictatorial fascist c\/nt.

      Bloomberg follows the same script that Hitler did:

      Bloomberg and Hitler both unilaterally broke the law on term limits and extended their terms due to an “emergency”.

      Bloomberg and Hitler both like to dictate what healthy activity or food the peons need to do or eat. Hitler was a vegetarian too.

      Bloomberg and Hitler both have grand automobile/people mover plans. The Autoban and the massive lane changes in NYC.

      Bloomberg and Hitler both hates it when civilians are allowed to own guns. Gee, I wonder why they both like a helpless citizenry.

      Bloomberg and Hitler both use “emergencies” to increase their special police’s powers. NYC’s SS even perform overseas “investigations”, like NYC is a wholly separate little dictatoriate.

      Bloomberg and Hitler both just love to control how our youths are “educated”.

      Bloomberg and Hitler people both wear monochrome colored shirts in a uniform manner. (While it’s true, this is placed here more so that the fascists can have something to respond to.)

      I wonder what “emergency” will occur for Bloomberg to break the term limit on the Presidency?

    • Bob Fowler

      Where does having a spine, and standing up for what is right allow for rioting? Was that the first alternative? Didn’t anyone think to complain first? Didn’t anyone call their parent and have the parent complain to the school administration? Using your logic, bombing the building would have been a correct response to the riot.

      And by the way, your rights to be safe in society has been taken away by these same deviants. The first sign of protest is to follow the rules, and try to change the system from within. I will be interested in hearing your opinion after one of these darlings causes personal affect to your life.

    • axxis

      If the students aren’t allowed to use the bathroom, then they would be within rights to use the garbage can in the classroom to go to the bathroom in as an act of civil disobedience.

      • DavidArizona

        Yeh, they are good a peein on themselves and their race. What about pride? Martin Luther King is turnong in his grave.

      • clarence jackcobson

        MLK would be horrified at how the inner city youth act

    • JohnD

      If you act like a punka$$ thig you should be treated like one.
      This will be good training for when they drop out of school and go to prision.

      And you sir, are a frigging idiot.

      • JZ

        John D , I thought we just called that graduation?

  • TiminPhx

    Don’t make it a racial issue, but also don’t lie. These things don’t happen to this degree at “white schools” as you call it. They of course don’t happen like this at “Rural Schools.”

    Urban schools with large hispanic and large black populations have far more violence. Now you may not like the stats, but you can’t pretend they don’t exist.

    • patches12

      Unfortunately you are correct. The differenc is that in a “rural” school, parents and teachers still have some, and I use the word “some” with trepidation, control over their kids.

    • hank francsis

      — why is that? why do the adults just give away the control?

  • Bradford Keller

    Looks like some kind of segregated school ,never heard of it
    this ” no Toilet “today order order
    would not be given at Stuyvesant HS or LaGuardia arts or …….!

    • KPMc

      You mean at schools where kids actually go to class, respect their teachers and do their work?


  • No One Special

    paulejb: her head…

  • paulejb

    The principal is “accused” of threatening to have thugs arrested? Off with his head!

  • No One Special

    In the near future we will not be able to find anyone willing to teach for a living. We cannot ‘raise’ your children…that is your job.

  • ED357

    Principal Andrea Lewis is a STONE COLD RACIST………….

    WAIT A MINUTE………………

    Principal Lewis is Black……………errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


    • JohnD


    • DavidArizona

      LOL, I just love it. They have no pride.

  • Rational

    The principal overreacted; but the student overreaction is evidence that this school is out of control. The principal is probably incompetent; but the students are definitely in charge of the school–and that is the problem. The school board should take over the school and put more police in the building. Bottom line? The kids are a bunch of animals.

  • Larry

    They had the right idea in the movie Escape from New York. Just put a giant wall around it.

    • RufusVonDufus

      Agree completely!

      • Chicago Nick

        Me three. Animals are treated like animals and sooner than later most will be in cages anyways.

        Joe Clark is needed at this dump

  • Roger Sunderlin

    easy fix to this.close the border.send the illegals back throughout the world.have these kids take over the back breaking jobs the illegals do.they will beg to get back to more fights.bathrooms back open

    • Fae

      I like how you take an article about school rebellion and try to put an immigration twist on it. Way to go. /sarcasm

  • Problem Child

    Well I think this pretty much sums it up.

  • JD

    isnt it federally mandated to have access to teh bathroom?

    • Rational


      • P Graham

        YES! Having toilet facilities available for students IS mandated!

        PLUS when I was in high school, when I had my period, it was totally necessary for me to go to the toilet after every class. I’m not kidding.

        This is a matter of health as well as simple humanity

  • Sparky Griswold

    Where is Child Protective Services, they love to attack parents. This is a case of child abuse. If a parent did the same thing they would lose custody.

    • JohnD

      Another bleeding eart moronic A_hole

      • Mark

        You look to be the same, except without the bleeding eart [sic]. How are things coming on your GED? Your spelling looks to be a few years away still…

  • Rick Simm

    This is what happens after 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

    Are you better off now or were you better off three years ago?

    • troll1940

      I fail to see just what Bush/Cheney have to do with this.

      In answer to your question, I was MUCH better off three years ago.

      • Eliot

        Amen to that, troll1940! My two grown sons were also better off 3 years ago!

    • DamagedGoods

      what a freaking lunkhead!

    • Clunky

      Exactly what I was thinking …Thank the lord she is not white ….This is Bush’s Fault

    • laure

      What the hell do Bush/Cheney have to do with this? We were all much better off 3 years ago. This has absolutely nothing to do with them. What an moronic answer.

    • Delhiman

      We were all much better off three years ago.

      • Paul

        that’s because the Bush/Cheney economic crash didn’t happen until 2 and 1/2 years ago.

    • Buck Black

      Yes I was much better off 3 years ago…I was employed!

    • zange

      You forgot to mention Obama. 2 years of Obama is like a thousand years of bad government!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JinTX

      Oh for pete’s sake what does BUSH or CHENEY have to do with this? Get a life

  • jon catatrano

    i go to this school and alot of the kids are out of control. the principal was trying to cut down on all of the fights. believe me, there are alot of fights in this school. i hate it here. my parents are going to get me transferred after this. i know so many kids who are completely disrespectful at Bergtraum; they are out of control. i don’t think their parents taught them anything.

    • RufusVonDufus

      I wonder how Ms. Lewis now feels about her black brothas and sistahs! Now she sees how so many of us view them.

      • Paul

        wow. are you aware of how so many of us view racist morons like you?

    • JinTX

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jon. Unfortunately, when administrators punish the innocent, they win no support.
      A better solution, which requires public and legal support, would be to immediately expel thugs – for the rest of the year.
      Let them become wards of their parents again. Schools should not be daycare or bootcamps, and students and teachers should
      not dread walking through the doors. I don’t think high school should be mandatory. Remove those who don’t wish to be there:
      You cannot FORCE a student to learn, and statistics show the thugs – if they manage to graduate, are still low skilled thugs
      with nothing to offer a decent society. Why waste these resources on them?

  • al


  • Chuck Curry

    Good for the kids. The administrators are getting rich exploiting these kids, using their warm bodies to generate revenue, and using police to do problem solving. I went to an inner city high scholl decades ago. There were fights, and there were bad kids, but teachers handled it, and we learned to read write and calculate too! These kids should run this principal out on a rail! They’re being cheated, abused, and criminalized with OUR tax money. We should all riot.

    • Chuck Curry

      Yes. I know I spelled “school” incorrectly. Typos happen.

    • dan

      chuck your an idiot. these kids are punks. maybe one of them is your kid.

    • Richard Bolles

      …and your favorite story is ‘The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather’.

      The inmates SHOULD run the asylum? That is a poor example of your superior education – or is it just an examp[le of the type of education you have?

    • heeby

      u b a dumb ass

  • warren

    this is the most racist set of comments i’ve ever seen… cbs should report on this thread!

    • Red

      It’s not racist if it’s true.

  • riri095

    If parents did their job and taught their children how to behave there would be no need to close the bathrooms.

  • Airborne

    Should have shot a few of the miscreants.

  • Randy Feldman

    They should have lynched the primcipal

  • John

    It is totally unreasonable to have the bathrooms off limits. If they don’t trust the students maybe there should be teachers posted in the restrooms like maybe they do in preschool.

  • bernie bouck

    Where’s Officer Krumpke when you need him?

  • AndyTaylor

    Is it any wonder that homeschooling is increasing 15% per year? People are trying to get away from this kind of garbage…both the rioters and the principals.

    • Squat Humor

      Even with a 15% increase, the number of home-schooled kids is quite small.

  • Oath Keeper

    I think that’s spot on.

  • Gypsy

    They should riot. Come on you gotta go you gotta go. PERIOD. Fix and address the problem. Don’t blame it on everyone. That is the problem with Politcally Correct. I only wish the entire country’s education system were conservatives and not Socialists or Communists.

  • MakeThemWearDiapers

    Sorry Thomas but these types of incidents happen at white schools, rural schools and suburban schools. Teachers have been preaching to the choir for years, but no one is hearing the music. It is always the educator’s fault so that the student self-esteem remains in tack.

    So let’s not make this a racial issue. Instead let’s lobby for one-way mirrors in all class rooms and invite the parents to visit to see their child in action.

    • KR

      Show me one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Cowboy

      First. parents have to care.
      Second, they have to believe they have responsibility.

      • tt

        no first they have to have “parents” not a baby moma

  • Skip

    How do you like being a bigot and a racist? Only an idiot would post a comment like your did. You are indeed a fool.

    • JohnD

      Skip, you are pretty quick to call someone else a fool. It is not bigotry to point out the bad behavior or the vlacks in this school. It is a statement of fact. Moron.

  • Bruce McClarron

    A picture is worth a thousand words!!!


    It’s Cheney’s fault, of course!!

  • HansJurgen

    Darwin’s Theory confirmed on a daily basis.

    • Max Yakov

      Darwin NOT confirmed here. Looks like, regression-aggression.

  • Americans against the East Coasters

    You can'[t just close off the bathrooms. You “East of the Hudson” not-even-close-to-being-true Americans, are absolute IDIOTS ONE AND ALL!

    • John

      Americans against the East Coasters… Nice name and pretty funny considering America was founded on the East Coast.

      • JohnD

        You are correct, but today you would be hard pressed to find a patriotic American anywhere neart the east coast., especially in the inner city population.

  • MakeThemWearDiapers

    Good for this principal to shut down the situation and make the students responsible and accountable. Otherwise the students would spread feces and urine all over the bathroom like they usually do. If they want to act like children, they get treated like children. Just because they did not like the alternative DOES NOT give them the right to riot. Glad the story went public, because this behavior is happening all over – not just in New York.

    • Chuck Curry

      So every student in that school is responsible for the fights? What kind of logic is that. If we’re going to extend blame in any direction away from the actual fighters, wouldn’t it make more sense to blame the ADULTS? Who gets blamed when a ship runs aground? The cargo?

      • MakeThemWearDiapers

        It is the same logic the courts use to indict those that stand around and cheer on or cover up other crimes. These situations escalate very quickly. Did you read the article about parents being mad about a teacher not breaking up a fight? The following week a teacher did break up a fight, which resulted in a miscarriage. Those students should be charged with manslaughter, but were only suspended. These situations have nothing to do with hyper-authoritarianism, but everything to do with separating over hyper students, getting them back in class and calmed down.

        The students were not denied bathroom rights, they were curtailed down to supervised use. Cognitive research shows that high school students are 75% to 80% responsible for the decisions they make. They chose to riot instead of stand in line. So based on research, the students are the captain of the ship and the principal was the cargo trying to slip back in place after running aground.

  • Mark

    Where is the City Building Department in all this? It is illegal to not provide access to restroom facilities (and not just the bathroom in the nurses office) at ANY public building. Schools have mandated minimum facilities, and if the principal wants to shut them down, she has to close the school.

    How ignorant and childish can the principal be to try punishing the whole student body for her inability to control a few students?

    • Eric

      Sorry Mark, but what the principal did was not illegal. Bathrooms can be shut down if it’s for the safety of other students. Facilities were provided in the nurse’s office.

      It might not have been the best choice, but trust me, it’s been done before in other areas. It’s not just an NYC thing.

      • Finally.

        Thank goodness someone sane reads the news

      • Paul

        Illegal or not, collective punishment isn’t justified

      • JohnD

        Save your breath Eric. Mark is typical of the unnformed opinionated left.

      • Mark

        Sorry Eric, you are incorrect…as are you JohnD. First, I am a licensed Master Plumber, not some unnformed [sic] opinionated left(ie). The Building Department is required to enforce all adopted laws regarding health and sanitation. The plumbing code REQUIRES a minimum of 1 water closet (toilet) per 40 male students, 1 urinal per 35 male students, and 1 water closet per 35 female students. If the principal wants to shut down access to the bathrooms, the Building Department must shut down access to the school. It is the LAW, and YES, closing the bathrooms WAS illegal. Closing the bathrooms down ENDANGERS the safety of the students. The facilities in the nurses office do not meet the requirements of the law.

  • HansJurgen

    Dis be a gangsta school – teachin dem to riot!

  • e

    Actually, this isn’t unprecedented. I remember in my high school, they closed practically all the bathrooms but one. Even that one was supposedly closed at certain times of the day.

  • Taytay

    Dem stoonts beez mad an sheeeit, noamsayn?

  • Billy

    Besides the Asian / orientals in the school the rest are pure bred ANIMALS
    And with Police Plaza across the street
    Keep up the great work with the Public Schools Mr Doomberg j hahahahaa

  • D.C.

    The “M-TV” generation has raised the looser generation. Can they even spell riot?

    • Blop

      HAHAHAHA coming from someone who can’t even spell “loser” — too hilarious

    • Rob

      You call people losers and question if someone can spell. You might want to use spell check on your own post before you call names.

    • DennyCrane

      I think you meant to say “loser” generation. Glass houses, sir… glass houses.

      • Max Yakov

        Looser works for me … as in morals – Freudian slip?

  • cluelessinky

    The principal is an idiot. Why punish an entire student body because of the actions of two miscreants? This is what a liberal does, everyone is the same and rewards and punishments can not be meted out to the individual but to the group. While I don’t condone what the students did, I can certainly understand why they did it

  • Scott423

    Look at the photo and tell me why I’m not surprised this happened at this school.

  • O. B. Server

    Prison riot.

  • fred

    This is all Obamas fault!!

    • e

      Get a life

  • walter12

    This is New York, those things are expected in NY. Look who lives in NY. Does that tell you something? One would have to be crazy to live in NYC nowadays.

    • Rachel Phillips

      @walter, just how many times did you go to NY? hmmm never been to NY right, so you get your facts from police shows, movies…. a story of a kids fighting … is that really all you know about NY?

      • JohnD

        I have been to NY many times Rachel and Walter is correct. The entire city is a cess pool.

        You should be careful about critizing others when yuo don’t have a clue.

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