ATLANTIC CITY — Nabil Chowdhury and his classmates saw a problem with the cleanliness and safety of the bathrooms at Atlantic City High School and, through their history class’ Project Citizen assignment, they believe they have a solution.

“Our bathroom has a lot of vandalism,” said Chowdhury, 15, of Atlantic City. So the group surveyed students from neighboring school districts on their bathrooms and how students are able to access them before deciding a swipe card would be the best option.

From schoolwide troubles to pervasive social issues, sophomores at Atlantic City High School were tasked with coming up with solutions to whatever issue they deemed important, according to history teacher Ryan Gaskill.

“The kids have complete ownership of their topics. It’s one of the things I like most about the project,” Gaskill said.

On Thursday, the students presented their plans during a fair in the cafeteria.

Chowdhury’s teammate Grace Bancheri, 16, of Ventnor, said currently, Atlantic City High School students are required to sign in and out for a hall pass to go to the bathroom. She said there are some bathroom monitors, but there isn’t one at every bathroom due to staffing issues. Their solution would eliminate the need for bathroom monitors, she said.

Chowdhury and his teammates have already taken their swipe-in, swipe-out idea to the district administration in order to decrease vandalism, fights and illicit activities they say are happening in the high school bathrooms.

“We talked to the principal and she said she would try to work on it,” Chowdhury said.

Other students targeted national social issues. TyQuaysha Carpenter and Natayah Nellom said the issue of police brutality is inescapable on internet news feeds, but they had no idea how troubling the statistics were until they chose it as the topic of their Project Citizen assignment.

“I was surprised,” said Carpenter, 16, of Atlantic City, of the very low indictment rate for police officers involved in fatal shootings.

She said they found through research that part of the solution is to offer more discussions with officers about police brutality with training on de-escalation tactics, to involve the community in the discussion and to educate about a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Nellom, 15, of Atlantic City, said the group would like to bring their ideas to the school district and eventually see if they could present to the Atlantic City Police Department.

Gaskill said that all the US History I students participate in Project Citizen as part of state-mandated curriculum requirements. Through the project, the students have a chance to interact with local media, government and school leaders.

Several Project Citizen ideas from years past have gone on to be implemented or at least discussed at a higher level including curriculum changes, changes in the school cafeteria, and improvements to lighting and bike paths, he said.

“It’s interesting to get the perspective of the students,” Gaskill said. “Some of them really pick out things that are smaller issues, but they believe addressing those issues would make a difference in the world that they’re in.”

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

Atlantic City High School Project Citizen projects 2018

Field 1 Field 2
Topic Solution
School GPA weighting Create a more balanced system where a B in honors is equal to an A in Academic and B in AP is equal to an A in honors …..
Student Athletes need more time to study Change gym classes for an athlete to a study hall and give gym class credit for the period they are competing as in a interscholastic sport.
Styrofoam Plates wasteful to environment. Change cafeteria plates to a more biodegradable plate
Reduce residents fear and crimes by increasing street lights. Change current lights to led lights and increase the number in darker areas of city, like Ducktown section. Cost savings in electricity will pay for new lights
Conditions of ACHS Bathrooms, cleanliness and graffiti Use an id swipe to open doors and track student usage of bathrooms. School staff will perform periodical inspections on the bathroom to monitor its condition.
Student Incentives and Discipline Creating a reward system for students following school rules to counter students being punished for breaking rules.
Affordable Housing Partnering non-profit and city to build affordable homes on vacant lots in Atlantic City.
ESL Transition Program Provide assistance to students who transition from ACHS ESL classes to regular education courses.
Police Brutality Police officers trained to work with the community cooperatively.
Jobs for Teens Providing assistance and training for teenagers to start their own small businesses, things like babysitting, house cleaning, dog walking.
School offers behind the wheel Students and School share cost of paying for behind the wheel offered by the school. The school owns two cars and has certified teachers.
Volunteers to assist elderly Student clubs offer assistance to elderly, picking up medications, running errands, cooking meals.
4 day school week
Senior apprenticeship program Program offered to seniors who are on schedule to graduate and provide them with an opportunity to participate in school to work program where they receive experience and training in blue collar work.
Texting while driving
Legalize Cannabis
After school Programs
Gun Violence
Ending School Uniforms
Sex Education in 9th Grade
ACHS Green Team Club
Reward Program for A and B Students
School Spirit
Video Game Ratings
Homeless Women Provide women’s hygiene products to homeless women, through collection drive.
Middle School Sports
Lonely Veterans
Cancer Awareness
Refillable Water Bottle Water Fountains
High School Student Stress
No Kill Animal Shelters
Drug Trafficking
Safe Spaces in Schools
Gangs Poverty
Drugs Violence

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.