Should Teachers be Allowed to Deny Students to use the Restroom – No

Denying a child the right to use the restroom is abuse. It should not be allowed as a consequence or punishment in schools. There are laws that protect children from abuse, so why is it being allowed in public schools today? As a society we put a stop to paddling students in schools, and as a society we need to put a stop to teachers being allowed to deny children the use of the restroom.

In our local school, if my Middle and High School children do not bring their planners to school, or if they do not write exactly what the teacher wants in their planners, the teachers are denying their right to use the restroom. In some cases, even if they have their planner, they are denied and threatened with a “strike” if they use the restroom anyway. After five “strikes” they are denied Friday incentive. This again, is no different than abuse. It denies a child their natural bodily function, and in some cases have forced student’s to pee their pants as a result.

Teacher’s actions should be held accountable; as they are responsible for children during the entire time they are in school. There should be no allowance for this abuse. Bladder infections and kidney stones are a major result of forcing student’s to hold their urine.

In some cases, schools will hold a student after school for misconduct. If that is the case, what would be a suitable consequence for forgetting a planner (or any other situation associated with denial of the using the restroom)? One idea would be to ask the student to write a paragraph on how they can be more organized. By writing it down, they will remember their ideas and be encouraged to stay organized in a non-abusive way.

Ironically, one way to prevent bladder infections is to drink fluids. Students are avoiding drinking fluids as a result of these incorrect uses of consequences. Forgetting to bring a planner to class is not nearly as horrific as causing classroom havoc. The usage, and types of classroom consequences, should to be re-evaluated in public schools.

Could it be that teachers are not creative enough to develop a consequence that will work? Are they consumed with anger and frustration, due to student’s needing to use the restroom that they want it to stop regardless of the effects to the student? Is it simply an inconvenience to the teacher?

In the past, I have had two children with severe cases of bladder infections, and both were from the results of holding their urine too long in school. Last year, our 9 year old wet her pants because she was told she could not go to the restroom. She was forced to leave the classroom with wet pants, had to get clean clothes form the office, and was embarrassed the remainder of the day. She had to wear sweat pants that were three sizes too big, a huge signal to other students of what had happened. I, of course, was never called to bring her clean clothes. I never received a phone call, note, or e-mail. I simply found out after she arrived home. This is nothing other than physical and emotional abuse to our children in public schools.

Here are my suggestions that would resolve this problem:

1. Require schools to lengthen the amount of time allowed between classes. Over the years, schools have shortened these breaks. Giving students a few more minutes would give them more time to get items from their lockers, and use the restroom between classes, without arriving to class tardy.

2. Give students a consequence that is related to the offense. If students are forgetting their planner, give them a consequence related to being organized.

3. Eliminate weekly incentives. Most weekly school incentives involve students being allowed to watch one or more movies, not related to learning, during school hours. Other incentives may also involve students being allowed to use entire class periods playing with electronics from home. Students would have more time to learn, and therefore, allowing them to use the restroom during class (if needed), would not be taking away that time.

4. Give students a restroom pass when they need to use the restroom during a class period. If teachers created a pass, for example an oversized key chain, it would require the student to be accountable in returning to class promptly.

Telling a student to hold their urine is no different than asking a student to hold their vomit when they are sick. A natural bodily function is just that – natural. Physical and emotional abuse on students should not be allowed in public schools.

Additional Sources:

Childhood Illnesses. Bladder Infections: The Top Five Causes of Bladder Infections. 2006. Web.

Should students be allowed to use restroom as needed? GreatSchools Parent Community. April 29, 2009. Web.