Arlington elementary parents flush negativity with restroom makeovers

ARLINGTON -- With so much negative news involving schools lately, a group of Arlington parents wanted to do something positive for their kids at Mary Moore Elementary School.  So, over the three-day Presidents Day weekend eight of them spent 37 hours painting the fifth-grade restrooms with inspirational messages and surprised the students when they returned to school on Tuesday.

"The bathroom in school is kind of the place where you go to breathe when you're having a hard time," says Tammy Duhon, one of the parents who organized the endeavor.  "What better place for them to come in and see they're worthy?"

Student Lilly David says the effort was worth it.  "It makes us all a bit happier and be in a good mood because it used to be just beige and boring, and now it's nice."

"It's really amazing because it's a change, and it's more inspirational," agrees fellow student Canon King.

But it's not just the kids who have taken notice.  Since posting some pictures online the story has gone viral with more than 100,000 shares as of Friday afternoon, a story on CNN's website, and schools from coast to coast calling for suggestions on how to make over their own restrooms.

"I think that's the most exciting part," says principal Tyson Jones, "knowing a lot of schools want to do this."  That includes a bunch of local schools, so don't be surprised if you see some changes at yours!

"I think that we, as parents who are super-involved, just take for granted those kids are told they're special everyday, that the kids are told they're loved everyday," says Duhon, "and you talk to some of the teachers [and] you realize that some of these kids don't hear how wonderful they are.  And so this was a way that all of our parents thought, 'We can get to everyone this way.'"

And if you think some kids might wreck the works of art, think again.  Jones and Duhon say the kids (especially the boys) have taken ownership of the restrooms and take great pride in showing them off.  There are already plans to paint other restrooms at Mary Moore and Jones says the hallways and cafeteria will likely follow, because in this case there's no such thing as too much of a good thing!