Teacher Shares the Sad Truth Behind Why He Has a “Bathroom Bucket” in the Classroom

Bathroom Bucket Larry Lexicon

Photo: Screenshot from TikTok

High school teacher Larry Lexicon is no stranger to social media. The English teacher, who works at a charter school in California, often posts funny classroom videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. But one satirical video got a pretty strong response, which prompted Lexicon to break from the ordinarily goofy nature of his videos and share a serious message. What began as a joke about a yellow bucket in the classroom, has become a sad reminder of what it means to teach—and attend—school in the United States these days.

In his initial video, after complaining about students taking too many bathroom breaks, Lexicon introduces the “bathroom bucket.” This yellow bucket has a lid that acts as a toilet seat and Lexicon even provides a tent for privacy. The video, which has racked up over 2 million views on TikTok includes the hashtags #satire and #comedy in the description. But apparently, some people were not amused.

This prompted the popular teacher to post a second video, one that was decidedly more serious in tone. After telling his class that people have been calling the school to get him fired, he wanted to make sure that people really understand the meaning behind the bucket.

The students rightly guess that the bucket is actually in case of a class lockdown, but struggle when Lexicon asks them what could have prompted their placement in the classroom. After guessing that it could be due to potential nuclear bombs or natural disasters, Lexicon reveals the truth. The buckets are actually part of a survival kit that the teachers have in case of mass shootings.

So yes, the bucket does act as a bathroom in case everyone is stuck in the classroom for an extended period of time. But that's not all. The bucket also contains a decent amount of survival gear, some of which your average citizen might think is more appropriate for a battlefield rather than a classroom. This includes packaged blankets that the educator would use if he needed to cover up bodies in the classroom.

“People being upset about our bucket video, they're upset about the wrong thing,” says Lexicon, who notes that these buckets didn't exist when he first started teaching. “They should be upset that the buckets exist, that we're at a point where we need these buckets.”

He also reminds the students that if a situation ever occurred where they needed to use the bucket, they should count themselves lucky. Because if they are using it, it means that they survived. This sobering, but accurate statement, comes on the heels of America's worst year when it comes to school shootings. In 2022, there were a record 300 school shootings, which is the highest number in 40 years. To put things into perspective, in 2010, there were only 15 incidents.

Lexicon asks those who were enraged by the first video to place that anger where it really belongs and get involved in trying to make school safer for both students and educators. He encourages people to contact their local representatives and help create a society where yellow buckets won't need to be in the classroom.

Larry Lexicon, a high school teacher in California, posted a satirical video about having a “bathroom bucket” in class.

@larrylexicon Help! Is this allowed?? #larrylexicon #doyourbuckingvocab #highschool #teachersoftiktok #satire #comedy ♬ original sound – Larry Lexicon

Some people didn't get the joke, so that prompted the popular educator to post a second, more serious video explaining the sad reason why the bucket is in every classroom at school.

@larrylexicon Please consider redirecting your anger by going to house.gov and letting your representative know you’re fed up. #nomorebuckets #gunviolenceawareness #thisisamerica #larrylexicon #bathroombucket #highschool #stopschoolviolence ♬ original sound – Larry Lexicon

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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