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Is using the bathroom a right or a privilege for students?

 

Here in the U.S., I'm really not sure if some teachers are trying to teach discipline to their students, are so insecure that they believe students are lying to get out of their lesson, or are just evil. Most of us have been at the hand of one of these teachers who would not let us go when we really needed to and suffered embarrassing accidents because of it...

 

I personally think it's wrong for a teacher to deny someone needed bathroom privileges because they speculate and assume that a student might abuse it. 

It's true that bathroom breaks can be abused for the bad students in order to get out of class, cheat, or cause trouble. But should a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch?

 

My Thoughts:

- The discipline over learning to control one's bladder should not be taught by the teacher but should be left to the parents or guardians of the students to teach and encourage them in a safer setting. Bathrooms are there for a reason and sometimes, you just gotta go, especially if you drink a lot during the day and younger students have much smaller bladders and lack of self-control. If they are trying to teach, then you don't teach by forcing someone to hold it and have an embarrassing accident in front of their classmates, hoping they'll learn. 

Even for good and/or shyer students (like myself) who were embarrassed of asking to be excused is torture and such should never be reprimanded by a teacher. 

 

- If teachers think it's a disruption for students to go to the bathroom while they're teaching (or assume that everyone else will have to go because they let 1 person leave) does not always apply. The alternative solution goes back to the "potty break/team" line up idea is much better than outright denying access to a bathroom, but is patronizing and rather strange for  older students. 

 

- If teachers are too insecure and think the students are just making excuses to get out of class, then they need to gain more confidence. Bad students do exist, but this should not be the case in every situation like I've observed in schools. Teachers are smart enough to know who the real trouble makers are and take note. 

 

What do you think? Do you have any stories about these dreadful experiences?
Edited by lilly286
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Myself, I think it should be on more of a "he/she cried wolf" basis. You know, innocent until suspected guilty. If a student is often disappearing during class to go to the "bathroom", obviously a teacher is going to become suspicious of their actual motives.

And it's true that a few bad apples ruin the bunch. After the handful of people involved in 9/11, the entire country is subjected to scrutiny at the airports even years later. This is an extreme example, of course, but the point is that there are some people trying to abuse the privilege, which can screw it up for everyone. When dealing with the idea of LEAVING CLASS to go to the restroom, it is and should be at the teacher's discretion. No one has the right to get up and leave. All middle to high schools where I grew up had 6 minute passing periods, and from the northern most end of the school to the southernmost it was about a 5 minute walk. My friends and I always had ample time to use the restrooms between classes...Plus, teachers are going to be skeptical when they see a student using the passing period to talk to their friends and then ask to use the restroom 10 minutes into class.

As for the parents vs teacher's responsibilities...It is the parents job to potty-train the child, and that's it. The child then must realize when it is and is not appropriate for them to use the toilet. Years in the future they may find themselves wanting to use the bathroom in a corporate meeting, but it would not be appropriate for them to get up and leave. 

ON THE FLIPSIDE; If a student is obvious in dire need of the toilet and the teacher denies them still, that is an abuse of authority and can be threatening to the child's physical and emotional health. There are extremes on both sides.

I don't believe "teacher-confidence" maintains any sort of germaneness to the situation at hand. I don't see why a teacher would be insecure about a student asking to use the restroom. I think it's more of a "I-know-how-this-game-works" sort of thing. If a student interrupts during a lesson, the RIGHT thing to do would be for a teacher to ask if they can wait. This way, they can gauge whether or not the student's need is actually dire enough for them to skip out on learning the material. 

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The USA is a babysitter country. It's illegal for teachers to deny students access to toilets. They're allowed to say no when asked for permission, but they cannot punish the student if they get up and go anyway. Only real dumbasses stay in class if they actually need to go.

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As a random note, I have heard people have had this problem. When I was in school in this situation, I was always granted permission to go, whenever I needed it, but this was because my mother spoke to my school and teachers and made sure that they knew to let me go whenever I needed to go. And I was responsible and didn't abuse this. I imagine it would be different for those who may have developed bad reputations or who didn't have a medical need to go 'right away.'

 

I do think a teacher would almost always grant a student permission, unless it was like 4 minutes before the bell for lunch or right after a break. But I also think that even if it was, a student would always be granted permission to go if they used the magic words "It's an emergency."

 

Again not to be overused but these words got me out of all sorts of situations, even non-school but bathroom regulated situations.

 

My two cents.

 

Rach

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On this topic, I used to have this teacher who had this weird rule about bathroom breaks. He stated that he would only allow females to go to the bathroom in the middle of his class while males would have to wait.

 

His reason? He, being a biology teacher, claimed that female bladders are poorer at holding(anatomically speaking) than male bladders.

 

I found this ridiculous as hell, whether or not a male bladder is better at holding, when someone's gotta go, they gotta go. It was a nonsensical reason to give bias towards the females. Thankfully we didn't have much classes with him, neither have I ever had bathroom issues with his classes.

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I'm a teacher. There are lots of kids who ask for the bathroom as an excuse to muck up. As an adult though I could ways tell when someone actually needed to go. I would allow pretty free range on the bathroom breaks but only one child at a time. Now I'm lucky enough to teach early years and the bathroom adjoins the classroom so the kids don't even need to ask me to go but we can see if there is anything going on. It also depends on the school policy. Some schools I've taught in have been really strict about letting children leave the classroom.

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On this topic, I used to have this teacher who had this weird rule about bathroom breaks. He stated that he would only allow females to go to the bathroom in the middle of his class while males would have to wait.

 

His reason? He, being a biology teacher, claimed that female bladders are poorer at holding(anatomically speaking) than male bladders.

 

I found this ridiculous as hell, whether or not a male bladder is better at holding, when someone's gotta go, they gotta go. It was a nonsensical reason to give bias towards the females. Thankfully we didn't have much classes with him, neither have I ever had bathroom issues with his classes.

I have run into exactly the same thing.  Some teachers will excuse females but rarely males, assuming that males can hold their bladders.  

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The USA is a babysitter country. It's illegal for teachers to deny students access to toilets. They're allowed to say no when asked for permission, but they cannot punish the student if they get up and go anyway. Only real dumbasses stay in class if they actually need to go.

Its not dumbasses that stay. In grade school kids are shy, and teachers are adults, which can be  little intimidating. Students stay because they are afraid to defy a teacher, or are too embarrassed to show the class how desperate they are.

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Honestly, I just say to go during the lunch break. There's more than enough time and it's situated right in the middle of a 6 hour day.

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@Mewtamer that's if you have to go across the entire school. Most classes her in a 30 second to a minute walk, and even then there was a bathroom per maybe 8 rooms. It wasn't lacking in facilities.

Also, are we considering an outlier of instructor to be a basis for a reconfiguration of an entire system? At my school, we all knew who those few were and, if we had classes with them, just went before class. It really wasn't that difficult.

But if a student wants to leave the classroom, he should still have to ask permission, which will be at the teacher's discretion; that's just how authority in the school system works. In college, the professors don't care if you show up to class, much less get up to use the bathroom.

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I remember being told that when I was an adult and had a job I couldn't just use the toilet whenever I wanted and that I needed to learn to hold it.

What a blatant lie.

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I tend to look with narrowed and suspicious gaze upon any teacher who denies restroom access and justifies it for reasons of "class disruption" or similar end results. Of course I tend to distrust any authority figure on principle, what with being what most would call a crazy survivalist and all, but I've also had family and friends work as teachers when I was growing up, so I knew when I was going to school that these older people at the big desks were just that: People. Flawed, imperfect, sometimes really screwed up people - just like me.

 

It made it very easy to ignore the rules when I found them more convenient to break than follow, although to be honest I only remember that happening once as far as restroom access, and that probably counted as a legitimate medical emergency anyway because I ended up nearly suffocating, first from the vomit and then from the dry heaves.

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I never witnessed or had any experiences in school myself with teachers not allowing students to use the bathroom.  My school had devised a hall pass system to try and monitor how long students were spending out of class and make sure no one was abusing bathroom privileges.

 

Now, as an adult, I have become aware of a handful of cases in which students have had accidents as a result of a teacher denying them bathroom access or school bathroom policy.  These cases have resulted in tremendous public outcry and law suits.  The courts here have ruled that bathroom access is a right for students. Law suits against schools that have denied student bathroom access has resulted in large payouts.  It is hard for me to imagine why, in today's litigious climate, any teacher or school would have policies in place that could result in a child having an accident.

 

In fourth grade there was a legend at my school about a girl who peed her pants when the teacher wouldn't let her go.  The girl in question was Sarah, and she was generally regarded as the toughest kid in the whole school.  She wore a black leather jacket, she used the 'F' word, she had jeans with holes in them, and she knew karate.  

As the story went she was in Mr. Miller's class.  Mr. Miller was known as the meanest teacher the school had, no one wanted to be in his class.  At one point in class, Sarah raised her hand and asked if she could go to the bathroom.  Being the mean person that he was, he of course said no, just to make her suffer.  Sarah wasn't the kind of kid to just sit there and wet her pants though.  Without permission she stood up and marched to the front of the class where he was teaching, they stared at each other for a moment, then she loudly said, "Fuck you" and proceeded to release the contents of her bladder immediately in front of him and the whole class.  Then, with a satisfied smile on her face, returned to her seat.  Mr. Miller was too stunned to do anything.

 

I always questioned the validity of this story.  However, the legend persisted for years.  Everyone was too intimidated by Sarah to actually ask her if it was true.

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I'm not going to lie this is kind of a kink of mine

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Denying a student a bathroom break is in a way illegal as it can technically cause harm to the student. So take that as you will

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OK

 

I wet myself at school a number of times, mostly when I was pretty young, and it wasn't really so much because of teachers actively denying me permission so much as an anxiety that they might. For me, the fear of getting in trouble, or having someone angry or annoyed by me wasn't exactly worse than the fear of having an accident, but it was more... immediate. I know a lot of people won't understand what I'm trying to say but asking an authority figure for something that might annoy them is an active action. It requires summoning all your courage and physically raising a hand, or walking to the front of the room and speaking, not knowing what the response will be. Wetting yourself is a passive action, you just have to be too anxious to say anything until it just happens.

 

Usually I'd hold it until I was pretty sure I couldn't wait until after class, then ask, be let go, and everything would be fine, if stressful. But if I had a reason to suspect that I might not be let go I sometimes just didn't even ask. Like the time I was asked if I could wait ten minutes so I said yes even though I couldn't, or the time time the teacher was annoyed because other people kept asking to go, or the time they were busy with something else and didn't acknowledge me in time since I'd left it to the last minute, or the time that it was eating time and the rule was you had to wait until play time. I'm aware this all sounds stupid and pathetic but it is just part of who I was and am. 

 

So yeah. I let kids go whenever they ask. And I'm lucky I'm at a good school and kids really don't abuse my leniency. I'll deal with it when someone eventually does, but not by just switching to not letting them go one day. There are better options. 

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A few of you mentioned the matter of law suits being filed against systems of education in relation to this matter. 

Would you say that having an accident could fall under the category of emotional abuse in a legal setting if a student did succumb to the inevitable act at the hand of a potentially "abusive" teacher? 

 

@TVGuy I can easily believe the story of the female student who emptied her bladder in front of the class as I also witnessed this happen in one of my CP English classes when my teacher would not let a male student use the restroom; he then relieved himself in a garbage can in front of the teacher's desk in front of everyone... Of course, he was suspended. 

 

Thank you teachers who responded to this post and actually DO let your students go when they need arises giving prudent consideration!  :smile:

We need more teachers with clear reasoning. These scars are very deep and emotional for many. 

 

Why are students reprimanded and labeled for leaving the classroom in act of "rebellion" if the teacher denies the genuine student access when the need arises? It's seems as if you stand up for yourself then you get punished. The teacher is not always right regarding this for they cannot judge who has to pee and who doesn't. What solutions could be given? 

- I notice a lot of students are written up for detention and are even suspended because they needed access to a bathroom which their teacher would not provide and they leave the class to go, only to be written up as being "defiant" or "rebellious" against the teacher's rule. To me, this sounds like an abuse of power. 

Edited by lilly286
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I do remember my high school building being so large that it was nearly impossible to simply travel from one class to the other given the massive traffic of students and also have time to use the restroom.

The teachers always assumed that students were wasting time during their 4 minute passing period talking and loitering in the halls instead of going but this was not always the case. Sometimes the lockers were located very far to other sides of the building and we needed to stop at the lockers to get books which one would certainly be late to barely making it to class on time just for this... That is, if students did not want to carry extremely large backpacks around with all of their books (like I had to do) every day--which can even cause back problems carrying around heavy books but that's another story. 

 

The teacher's assumptions of what students do in their free time do not always fit of course. 

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I do remember my high school building being so large that it was nearly impossible to simply travel from one class to the other given the massive traffic of students and also have time to use the restroom.

The teachers always assumed that students were wasting time during their 4 minute passing period talking and loitering in the halls instead of going but this was not always the case. Sometimes the lockers were located very far to other sides of the building and we needed to stop at the lockers to get books which one would certainly be late to barely making it to class on time just for this... That is, if students did not want to carry extremely large backpacks around with all of their books (like I had to do) every day--which can even cause back problems carrying around heavy books but that's another story. 

 

The teacher's assumptions of what students do in their free time do not always fit of course. 

It sounds like we went to the same school.  That was my experience exactly.

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Our school was actually quite small and there was only one set of toilets for two hundred students, if you didn't go during the five minute break then you didn't get to go until lunch, and The only time a teacher would let a student out to use the toile during a lesson would be if they had a medical pass. If it was anybody else they got the usual "Why didn't you go during break?" and were told to wait.

Edited by ThatGuyCallum

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Myself, I think it should be on more of a "he/she cried wolf" basis. You know, innocent until suspected guilty. If a student is often disappearing during class to go to the "bathroom", obviously a teacher is going to become suspicious of their actual motives.

And it's true that a few bad apples ruin the bunch. After the handful of people involved in 9/11, the entire country is subjected to scrutiny at the airports even years later. This is an extreme example, of course, but the point is that there are some people trying to abuse the privilege, which can screw it up for everyone. When dealing with the idea of LEAVING CLASS to go to the restroom, it is and should be at the teacher's discretion. No one has the right to get up and leave. All middle to high schools where I grew up had 6 minute passing periods, and from the northern most end of the school to the southernmost it was about a 5 minute walk. My friends and I always had ample time to use the restrooms between classes...Plus, teachers are going to be skeptical when they see a student using the passing period to talk to their friends and then ask to use the restroom 10 minutes into class.

As for the parents vs teacher's responsibilities...It is the parents job to potty-train the child, and that's it. The child then must realize when it is and is not appropriate for them to use the toilet. Years in the future they may find themselves wanting to use the bathroom in a corporate meeting, but it would not be appropriate for them to get up and leave. 

ON THE FLIPSIDE; If a student is obvious in dire need of the toilet and the teacher denies them still, that is an abuse of authority and can be threatening to the child's physical and emotional health. There are extremes on both sides.

I don't believe "teacher-confidence" maintains any sort of germaneness to the situation at hand. I don't see why a teacher would be insecure about a student asking to use the restroom. I think it's more of a "I-know-how-this-game-works" sort of thing. If a student interrupts during a lesson, the RIGHT thing to do would be for a teacher to ask if they can wait. This way, they can gauge whether or not the student's need is actually dire enough for them to skip out on learning the material. 

Just to note.. My school gave you roughly 4 minutes in between classes, and had some people go across the whole school (which was pretty big) over and over each class, 4 minutes isn't exactly a lot of time to cross a buiding.. let alone find a bathroom, which they would close down bathrooms every time someone got cought smoking in one. Those rules aren't all that practical.

 

"the RIGHT thing to do would be for a teacher to ask if they can wait"

...and force the person to admit in front of the whole class that they really need to use the bathroom? The level of which someone needs to go should never be questioned when asking for permission, its just not relevant, it gauges nothing too, all it does is say "this person answered a question they could of easily lied about" 

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Just to note.. My school gave you roughly 4 minutes in between classes, and had some people go across the whole school (which was pretty big) over and over each class, 4 minutes isn't exactly a lot of time to cross a buiding.. let alone find a bathroom, which they would close down bathrooms every time someone got cought smoking in one. Those rules aren't all that practical.

 

"the RIGHT thing to do would be for a teacher to ask if they can wait"

...and force the person to admit in front of the whole class that they really need to use the bathroom? The level of which someone needs to go should never be questioned when asking for permission, its just not relevant, it gauges nothing too, all it does is say "this person answered a question they could of easily lied about" 

Well, to start, this question would only be asked were the teacher in the middle of an important lecture that was disrupted for this student. Missing important information is only hurtful to the student, and if they can wait so that they can absorb it, they should. If the need is so great that they cannot focus on the material, then of course they should go.

But the problem is that this could easily become a carte blanche for the less honest students to skip out on class. Now, I can be fair and say that, to begin with, the teacher should let a student use the toilet if they request, no questions ask. But should this student be seen abusing this privilege, their access to the "bathroom" should be restricted.

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As a teacher, I normally let my students go to the bathroom whenever they need to. I teach ages 3-5 however, and many of them are still learning to even use it, so I'm actually encouraging them to go.

 

Also people, please bear in mind that sometimes teachers are told by their superiors that they are too lenient with bathroom breaks for students. One's attitude changes greatly when their job is at stake. It might be improper for teachers to assume the worst about students but that doesn't mean we should assume all teachers have bad intentions.

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