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Is this bathroom policy acceptable for young children?


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imthemama November 24, 2008


My child is in the 2nd grade. Her school has implemented a bathroom policy that discourages children (including kindergartners) to use the bathroom during class time or get a drink of water. If the students have to use the bathroom during classtime then they lose a part or their total recess.My child reported that she would hold her bladder until recess because she did not want to miss any of her recess. In additon, she would still sometimes have to go during class time...well, because she is only 7. When I was informed of the policy I addressed it with the teacher who stated that any child could be excused from the policy if they had a doctor's note. My child reported to me that she still is losing parts of her recess, even though her pediatrician discouraged a child holding their bladder and wrote a note on my child's behalf. How do I address this with the teacher?

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debrasuefitzge November 24, 2008


i would have your child's doctor to contact the school,since the teacher isn't listening to the letter.maybe if he calls the principal and tells him personally on the phone then maybe something can be done.and if this doesn't help contact the superintendent and maybe he can do something,this is a crazy policy,should be able to go to the bathroom when you need to.i hope this policy will change,its not good to hold your bladder,its bad on older people but worse on kids.hope this was helpful?

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odachimaster November 24, 2008


what a stupid and most of all unhealthy policy I would go to a school board meeting and address the the board on this issue with doctors notes on the possible damage this policy is inflicting upon these children and you are there to disclose this information not just for the children's sake but the possible lawsuits that may come from this policy.

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SoCalGal November 25, 2008


This is often done in the belief that children use trips to the bathroom to avoid classwork -- I'm not saying I agree, I'm only saying that that from what I've seen, this is a common practice.

If you've submitted a note already, meet with the teacher once more to discuss this issue. If, after your friendly reminder, the situation continues, meet with the principal and the teacher. That often takes care of the problem.

Just be aware that you will probably need to address this issue with teachers throughout your child's school career -- I do since my daughter has a congenital connective tissue disorder that causes this to be a concern. Each year, she receives a permanent bathroom pass that she may use at any time. Now that she's in middle school, that pass is a pass to excuse herself from class at anytime so that she may go to the health office, bathroom, or counseling office - as needed.

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GracesMom November 25, 2008


You might want to be sure that recess isn't being lost due to some other reason. Once you determine that recess is lost due to the bathroom issue, you should clearly state to the teacher that the doctor's excuse she has on file is for medical reasons and that you do not expect your daughter to be penalized for going to the bathroom. If a face to face doesn't solve the problem, definitely escalate to the principal. Hopefully you won't have to go further, but don't hesitate to do so, if necessary.

Regarding the policy, in general, let's put this in perspective. Do you keep your child home every single time he or she says, "I don't feel like going to school because I feel sick." Probably not, you check for fever, consider the behavior (running around playing or sitting listlessly) and make your judgment based on what you KNOW about your child. It's a judgment call...and it isn't always right. (If you're always right, kudos to you!) Most kids try to play you...parent or teacher, when they want to avoid something (even good kids!)

I've recently started substituting. It's like walking a tightrope trying to determine who is legit and who isn't. I would never want a child to wet themselves and consequently have to face the ridicule of their peers. I would also be really upset if my child truly had to go the bathroom and the teacher didn't let them. It's also disruptive to the class when there's a lot of going in and out of class and the first child going to the bathroom during class time is like knocking down the first domino. As a sub (or a teacher with a new class) you just don't yet know the dynamics of the class. I let my kids go. They just can't go in pairs!

Effective teaching of our children is a concerted effort. So before we start slamming policy, perhaps a look at "why" would be in order. Also, I can't say it enough, volunteer at school...all day...not just for an hour or two and see what it's really like trying to keep order enough to teach. It's a real eye opener.

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odachimaster November 25, 2008


by forcing a child to decide whether to go to the bathroom or risk being penalized at recess. Yes I know kids will use it to get out of homework but if my child wets hers/his pants(clothing) there will be some heck to pay. and they will hear about it all the way up the food chain

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Lstern November 25, 2008


Children should be allowed to go to the bathroom whenever they need to and should NEVER be penalized in any way. Holding the bladder can cause many serious urinary problems. Children's bodies should not be controlled by adults who have power over them. They should be respected and should be taught to respect their bodies functions and needs. I don't care how disruptive it is to teaching. Children should be taught to quietly leave, with their bathroom buddie and quietly return to their seats. Teachers cannot and should not determine if a child really NEEDS to go or not.

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SoCalGal November 25, 2008


Hey folks, chill out. Gracesmom brings up a very important point: it is very disruptive to the entire class when children start heading off to the bathroom. And the first one is like a domino -- the same thing happens regularly in the Saturday morning ballet class that I teach. One child comes off the barre in the middle of a set of plies or battement tendus and 2 to 3 are right behind her. And ultimately 5 to 10 minutes is lost out of an hour class reining everyone back in.

And as for teaching children to handle this, well that's what the policy about waiting is all about. School is for learning more than just academic work and one of those things is how to behave in groups and ultimately, in the workplace.

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tjlove November 25, 2008


I have to agree with SoCalGal and Gracesmom. We were all school children once upon a time and I remember using the bathroom as an excuse to get out of having to read out loud or other school work and also to socialize.

I agree that seven is a young age to be expected to hold it in- but it's my experience that kids will put off going to the bathroom so that they can play longer. If they can hold it during recess, they can hold it during class time. Maybe this will encourage students to use the restroom before class starts or during recess or lunch or any other time designated for using the restroom that won't disrupt the entire class.

For imthemama: If you have a doctor's note on file and you're child is still losing recess time, definitely address it with the teacher again. There could be another reason as to why this is happening.

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hyppolite25 November 25, 2008


Trust me from personal experience. I for some reason had to go to the bathroom right when most of my classes started and would not be allowed to go. I would have accidents since I walked home and it was 30 minute walk and was not allowed to use the bathroom. No one should be telling someone especially a child when they can use the bathroom. Some kids may have problems or just smaller bladders.

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MagnetMom November 25, 2008


I'm a parent volunteer and I see both sides of this issue as well.

Sometimes kids suddenly have to go and there's no stopping them. My daughter's teacher has a policy where they can go whenever necessary, but when you see the same two kids (because they have to take a friend) grab the pass and go running out of the classroom virtually every day, it is disruptive. And suddenly as soon as those two come back, another two want the pass and the freedom it promises. At a certain point, it does become disruptive, and the teacher will give them the skunk eye.

My problem is my daughter is the exact opposite. She will hold it all day until she comes home, and yet she will sometimes be asked to go with another girl because she can be depended on to return promptly.

Another suggestion is find out if the class has set restroom policies (right before recess or right after lunch). My daughter is in second grade, and the kids still line up and hit the bathroom and the drinking fountain as a class together at least a couple of times a day.



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