Phoenix, Ore. (CBS Seattle) — An Oregon school is making headlines after turning to students to do its dirty work, literally.

Armadillo Technical Institute, a public charter school a few miles from California, has students in grades 6-12 clean the school once or twice a week in place of janitors, as reported by WPSU.

Executive Director Kim De Costa doesn’t see an issue with the practice, saying that there isn’t anything radical about asking the children to clean up after themselves.

Children meet for 30 minutes after lunch and do various janitorial duties such as sweeping, mopping, taking out the trash, and cleaning the bathrooms. WPSU reports that the students rotate responsibilities so no one is stuck with the unfavorable jobs all the time.

“We really wanted a school where the students took ownership and made it their own,” De Costa told WPSU.

Students are not forced to do any work that may be considered dangerous or particularly difficult and the school stays clean through the work the students do every week.

Other schools are picking up similar practices, though it is still rare within the United States.

At Brentwood Academy outside Nashville, Tenn. students clean assigned areas for 10 minutes on a daily basis.

“We’re trying to train them for life,” Susan Shafer, the school’s director of communications, told WPSU. “They’re all going to go to college. No one is going to clean their dorm room for them.”

Other instances of janitorial duties involving younger students for discipline purposes may cause greater controversy.

Multiple parents at North Portland’s César Chávez K-8 School have reported students as young as seven years old being forced to clean during lunch and recess as a form of punishment, as reported by Willamette Week.


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