OPINION: More respect should be shown to custodial staff


Sophia Maxim

Wayne, a member of the custodial staff at Loyola in the Danna Center. Part of his work centers on keeping the campus clean as well as other duties.

Jacob L'Hommedieu, Op/Ed Editor

Compared to the amount of work custodial staff and other workers do around campus to keep the place looking good, not enough respect is shown for their efforts. After many events, you can find trash littered across the ground where people couldn’t be bothered to toss their wrappers or plates into the trash cans that are probably only a couple feet away. Yes, it is true that a lot of these bins do fill up quickly during events. They can even start to overflow in a matter of minutes. But it still doesn’t take that much effort to carry your trash to the next closest trash can.

Over the course of nearly seven years of Jesuit education, I’ve been taught that custodial staff deserve utmost respect. For my high school education, I went to the Jesuit high school St. Louis University High. At SLUH, we had a type of punishment for truly unruly behavior that was referred to as Judgment Under God, or JUGs for short. For every JUG a student received, they would have to complete one hour of service after school. I myself did not manage to avoid these Judgments and probably completed an average of three JUGs every year.

Through these punishments, we were given perspective on the kind of work that the custodial staff would have to do every day in order to look after our school. From cleaning the common areas, to mopping up bathrooms, to reorganizing classrooms, the work would seem endless during those days. And it was only an hour! Imagine the countless number of hours poured into keeping the school in order by the custodial staff.

My experience with learning this lesson didn’t just start in high school, though. Back at my middle school, I was given a somewhat special punishment. It all started with me breaking a window. That I accidentally kicked in. I swear it was an accident.

Either way, the damage was done, and there had to be some kind of recompense for what I had done. So, I ended up having to clean the stairwells of the middle school. That was what started me on this path of acknowledgement for the work done to keep schools and other locations in order.

All of this is to say that, before I did any of this, I very much did not realize the work that custodial staff did for us, and it took me being forced into the work to recognize it. What I hope is that by sharing my experiences that I can offer my own bit of perspective on why you should treat custodial staff with respect, not just at Loyola, but everywhere.