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Boston pupils raise stink over school restrooms

BOSTON (AP) -- Students here are raising a stink over a dirty little secret: the state of school restrooms.

No toilet paper. No soap or paper towels. Missing stall doors and graffiti-laden walls. These, the students say, are the hallmarks of Massachusetts' high school facilities.At Boston Latin Academy, 17-year-old sophomore Jameela Philip would rather hold off nature's calls than set foot in the restrooms. Her Spanish teacher keeps a spare roll of toilet paper on her desk for emergencies.

"Sometimes you try to listen to what the teacher's saying, but then the smell is so strong, so you're concentrating on the smell," Philip said Tuesday. "It distracts you."

Some kids said they duck out during breaks to use the facilities in nearby restaurants. Others, if geography allows, sprint home.

On Tuesday night, about 500 students, staff and teachers met to discuss the problem and gave a slide show of unkempt school restrooms set to Aretha Franklin's hit song "Respect."

Boston School Superintendent Thomas Payzant said he would meet monthly with members of the group but said they should examine a wider range of issues than just toilets to improve education.