American bathrooms are already a little strange. Instead of having total privacy down to the floor, some gaps help you to see if someone is using a stall.

For many bathrooms, you’ll also find the stalls covered with graffiti. You’ll discover everything from the obscene to encouraging words, like “Jesus Saves.”

During the Summer vacation of 2018, teachers and staff at Warren Middle School Forney ISD decided to take a different approach to bathroom graffiti. They spent the break, volunteering their own time and resources, to paint positive messages on the doors and walls.

It would be a decision that turned an ordinary middle school bathroom into something extraordinary.

These Messages Address the Challenges of Daily Life

When people use social media, they tend to present only the good things that happen in life. It feels like a personal diary where all the challenges from the day are eliminated, forgotten, and discarded.

Real life is very different. Stress, anxiety, and fear happen to each person every day. We are human, so we’ll make mistakes.

That is the issue these teachers and staff at Warren Middle School Forney ISD decided to tackle with their bathroom graffiti project. Each door and wall offer another take on what it means to live life outside of social media.

One of their messages says, “Real girls aren’t perfect. Perfect girls aren’t real.” And another says, “Your mistakes don’t define you.” 

The new principal of the middle school, Joshua Garcia, was a big advocate for the project. During an interview with USA Today, he described the project like this: “One of the goals was to create a culture of positivity and welcoming to our students. A place that our students and teachers want to be a part of and want to come to each and every day.”

Schools Provide More Than Just an Education

Children in the United States spend as much time in school as they do at home. For some families, the children spend more time at school than anywhere else. That is why it is essential for schools to do more than offer a high-quality education.

They must also provide an environment which emphasizes caring and kindness every day. For the staff at Warren Middle School Forney ISD, the bathroom graffiti project is just another way to show students that they are loved.

Assistant Principal Kristy Mach says that going to middle school is already a difficult time for many students. “In the past, we’ve had difficulties where our kids need motivation and, ‘Why should I come?’ or ‘What should I do?’” she said to USA Today.

“I feel like everything on our campus is going to be more effective because the kids have a reason to be here and a drive to be here. They want to be here.”

Warren Middle School Forney ISD is joining a movement that other schools have already joined, such as Mary Moore Elementary. It is a movement your local school district can participate in as well.

For more information, see the original story on Mary Moore Elementary from NBC Today.