How would you feel if your child was allowed to use the restroom only 50 times for the entire school year?
A K-8 academy in Boynton Beach, Florida, has this truly absurd bathroom policy. Students use the hall pass log pictured above for their bathroom visits. There are only 50 spaces for 180 days of school instruction. That means students are expected to use the bathroom only once every three days. What?! If they exceed their 50 visits during the school year, students are expected to pay $5 for a new sheet.
And considering that the sheet also works as a hall pass and office visits count as well, students have even less than 50 times to use the bathroom in the school year.
First of all, we have so many questions: What about students who are menstruating and need to use the restroom frequently? And those with medical conditions? How many children will develop UTIs and bad hygiene, or soil themselves because of this policy? Do parents really need doctor’s notes for their children to have permission to go pee? Even for children with no “special circumstances,” doesn’t this seem absurd? And who is qualified to determine what is a “legitimate” need to use the restroom?
The log even has “Time Out” and “Time In” fields which promise to give any self-conscious middle-schooler anxiety when they have to log the length of their bowel movements. Parents were also told that the log will be kept in the office records when completed to prevent students from making blank copies for future use.
This is a public charter school, and many parents plan on taking up this issue with the school board. Some parents are calling this child abuse.
Maybe the school is motivated by thinking that this policy will help alleviate issues surrounding students interrupting class for frequent bathroom breaks. However, the four minutes in between classes is not always adequate time when there is a class to get to and long lines for the restrooms.
Students have a right to bodily autonomy and are entitled to use the bathroom when they feel the need. Each student is an individual with different bodily and emotional needs that should be respected. Wouldn’t it be better to assume the best of our students and not assume they intend to abuse the system? And then if they do, the school system could take this up with the parents and student on an individual/as-needed basis instead of instituting a preposterous bathroom policy for the entire school.
I can’t believe this needs to be said, but seeing as how this isn’t the only school with these absurd impositions on students: using the bathroom is a right, not a privilege. Let the kids go pee.