Carlos Aragon also contributed to this article.
Last month on Friday, December 10th, students were shocked to see a picture of a burning trash can floating around social media, eliciting a wide range of emotions from students, of disapproval, fear and even laughter.
With just an hour in between both fires, students and faculty were in disbelief as all three floors of the Boyle house were filled with the scent of burnt plastic.
Principal Christopher Mastrangelo expressed his concern over what happened Friday afternoon describing the event as “wildly disappointing” and “bold.”
“That was a really dangerous thing, I've been doing this a long time and I've dealt with a lot of stuff. Mostly really good. The good stuff I've dealt with as a high school administrator outweighs the bad stuff but this is the first time I've dealt with this,” he said.
After students who witnessed the fire burning alerted adults in the building, Mastrangelo stated that the school “immediately contacted the fire department, and assessed the safety of the situation…and immediately started trying to investigate who started it.”
Students also shared their sentiments about the situation as “fear” and “disbelief” was a common feeling shared among them.
Senior Micaela Henry expressed that upon hearing the news of the fires she was “really shocked” and felt “really unsafe in this school.”
“We should not have to deal with literal fires in our school and when the alarms don’t even go off how am I supposed to feel safe?”
Senior Sammi Nie also expressed a similar concern stating she was “a little bit worried that there was no fire alarm going off… that’s not safe.”
Mastrangelo stated that the fire department “assessed the situation” and were “not surprised that the fire alarms didn’t go off…because [the bathrooms] didn’t get smokey enough.”
Senior Adriann Monahan-Dasilva voiced her disbelief with the events of the fires stating that she “thought it was a joke at first.”
Upon seeing the pictures of the burning trash cans on social media, Monahan-Dasilva was “shocked because I don’t understand the purpose, I don’t understand the intent, I don’t understand the goal, it just didn’t make sense.”
“Is this who we are? Like I don’t get it, what was it for? I want to know,” Monohan-Dasilva stated.
Mastrangelo feels as if “a vast majority of the students are getting the message but too many aren’t and they don’t think outside themselves”
Senior Leslie Rodriguez expressed her frustration with all that has been going on this year, “it’s a new year, let’s leave that childish stuff behind. Whoever did it is not being considerate of the thousands of other kids in this school.”
Despite all of the controversy that resulted from the bathroom fires, some students and faculty were able to find the light amongst the chaos.
Mastrangelo found it “uplifting” that “students saw what was happening and went and got adults, and in both situations, both fires were contained to the barrel and extinguished relatively quickly.”
An affirmations account was made earlier in the year by an anonymous user that is seemingly a student at Malden High School. After the photos of the bathroom fires hit social media, they made a post that became popular amongst the student body landing them with over 493 likes.
Many students found the page, and see this post as “humorous” and as a break from all of the negative emotions that came from the incident.
Senior Ronaldo Nguyen stated that personally he was “amused by all the memes that came from [the fire]... I wasn't like ‘oh my gosh I’m in danger,’ it was actually pretty funny.”
Despite feeling “concerned” and “scared” about what had happened earlier, Senior Olivia Donahue found the page “funny.” Donahue expressed that she thinks “it highlights a lot of struggles that students have daily at Malden High School.”
Seniors Marcos Ruiz and Krista Micalizzi shared similar feelings stating that they “love the page” and find it “very funny.”
Micalizzi left a message for the anonymous user behind the humorous and light-hearted posts; “I love you whoever you are.”
Although we cannot report on the students behind this incident, Mastrangelo made one thing clear stating that, “this is our school, we, adults and students collectively need to take ownership of this. If you see something that’s dangerous, you need to say something.”