Fifth grade was easily my worst year of school. My teacher told endless boring stories of his experience as an encyclopedia and vacuum cleaner salesman. He unconsciously whistled some song over and over about the Erie Canal. And he never let me go to the bathroom, until my mom finally had to send him a note saying I should be permitted to pee at times other than lunch.
What kid doesn’t get frustrated when they are denied a legitimate request to go to the bathroom? Hearing that “you should have gone before” is about as helpful as beating your head against a wall. Sure, there are undoubtedly tons of kids who take unnecessary bathroom breaks in school to waste time or avoid being called on in class, but there are also plenty of kids who are honestly responding to the natural function of their bodies.
Evergreen Park High School in Illinois seems to think there are way more of the former than the latter. Which is why they are limiting students to three bathroom breaks per semester, according to ABC News. If they have to go to the bathroom more than three times every half year, they are required to stay after school to make up for the missed class time.
The school principal said the policy was put in place in response to frustrated teachers who wanted kids held accountable for going to the bathroom just to get out of class.
Some parents are justifiably angry. One concern is that after-school activities will be compromised if a kid has to miss out in order to make up for lost class time because a bathroom break was needed. Another worry? Urinary tract infections as a result of “holding it” (although a urologist has declared that outcome “unlikely”).
There are five minutes between classes, which some students at the school say isn’t enough time to hit the head.
Perhaps the school’s principal needs to examine his head and rethink whether interfering so intimately and bizarrely with kids and their bodily functions is the best course of action. Are kids at this school really taking more bathroom breaks than kids at any other school? If so, is there maybe a problem with what’s happening inside of the classrooms that the teachers can’t retain their students’ interest? Or is the faculty simply too sensitive and are they overreacting because a few kids are doing what some kids will always do — which is waste a little time?
Do you think it’s fair to limit students to three bathroom breaks per semester? Or is this policy absurd and unfair?