BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Parents of students at Philip Simmons High School are concerned about sanitation ahead of the upcoming school year, after a lack of staffing left the school without a sufficient number of janitors towards the end of last school year.

One parent, Dr. Bruce Etheridge, said that his daughter described the bathroom as being littered with debris and feminine products. She even started taking her own toilet paper since the school bathrooms were out.

Principal Chris Buchholz acknowledged that staffing has been a challenge for school districts here in the Lowcountry and across the nation.

“To be honest, I mean last year, custodial staff was a problem. We were down to one custodian,” Buchholz said.

While he understood why parents would be concerned about the mess, he said he also couldn’t understand why some students thought it was okay to make that kind of mess in the first place.

However, Buchholz said that some students took the initiative to keep their space clean.

“There was a lot of upperclassman working with younger class men teaching, you know, ‘Hey, we got to respect what we have around here,’ and we saw when the kids saw us cleaning up, you know I’m wiping tables/taking out trash, they would join in. They would help, they would volunteer,” he said.

Although the school contracted a private cleaning company to get the school ready for the upcoming school year, Etheridge worries it won’t be maintained.

Buccholz said that whether it be by a janitor, a school staff member, or a private company, Philip Simmons High School will be cleaned every single day this year.