Is This a School or a Prison?
The way it’s worded, it sounds like the bathroom pass applies to more than one class. Most people seem to think that two allowances per month for bathroom, water, and nurse visits combined is more than just a little strict.
“As far as the intentions of the note it is, in fact, cruel and unusual,” wrote Twitter user @Lola_Resistance. “And those kids aren’t even in prison.”
The contract continues by saying that exceptions will only be made if the student brings in a doctor’s note, and that “failure to comply” will result in detention.
If the contract is lost, students are out of luck. No peeing for them, I guess — at least not in a toilet.
Real Harm to Real Kids
Many Twitter users have good reason to be outraged. Responses to the photo include a surprising number of stories about students who have been harmed by similar policies.
After the post made its way to Tumblr, user xenoqueer wrote about a girl at xenoqueer’s high school with epilepsy who was denied a pass to the nurse. That girl, unrelated to the Mrs. White situation, ended up having a seizure, falling onto the concrete floor, and getting a concussion.
“Another girl had severe vertigo-induced fainting, could not get a teacher to excuse her from phys ed class, and fell off a monkey bars and split her head open,” xenoqueer recalled.
While it’s true that some kids probably do attempt to abuse bathroom passes and nurse visits to get a break from class, it’s not worth punishing those students if others end up at risk of serious harm. It’s important to have structure and rules in a classroom, but not without common-sense exceptions.
“A student with, I believe, diabetes had a severe blood sugar drop and tried to eat a candy bar in a class with a ‘no food or drinks’ rule,” xenoqueer went on. “The candy bar was taken away, and she had to be taken out by EMTs.”
Do You Want Kids to Pee Their Pants?
Others shared horror stories of their own children suffering from similar draconian hall-pass rules.
“I had a teacher deny my child a bathroom trip once and she ended up wetting her pants,” wrote one concerned parent. “I was livid and brought holy hellfire up to the school. It never happened again.”
“Wow, that’s as bad as when a substitute male teacher told my 4th grade daughter that she couldn’t use the restroom because she wasn’t dancing yet,” commented @dancindoti. “I WAS PO’d as all hell and told the office so.”
People were eager to explain exactly what their reaction would be to the note from Mrs. White’s class — and most weren’t messing around when they revealed how they’d handle it.
“My reaction? I’d keep my kid home the next day while I set up a meeting with the principal,” said @MizBetsyH. “And by ‘set up’ I mean I’d show up to his office first thing and Lawyer Betsy would talk with her whether she likes it or not. I was a public defender for a decade. I can be very not nice.”
“I’ve never seen anything so draconian from any teacher or school before (I live in Canada),” wrote @nikideemo. “If I were the parent, my first reaction would be to give them hell, then pull my child out of that school. Good God, this is so awful.”
Hanley Middle School Responds
Thankfully, the school administration has responded to the controversy started by Mrs. White’s hall-pass contract.
According to iJaadee’s update, the school posted an official response on Facebook, assuring parents that the note was not part of the school’s policy and that the issue would be reviewed.
“On August 29, 2018, it was discovered that 8th grade students at Hanley Middle School were given a document restricting bathroom and nurse visits that was inconsistent with our school’s actual policies, our mission, and our values,” the post said. “We are currently reviewing the circumstances under which the document was prepared and distributed to students.”
On August 31, iJaadee said she also called the school to attempt to find out if and how Mrs. White would be punished, but they were tight-lipped.
“Their response was as good as it’s going to get,” iJaadee said in an interview with Bored Panda. “They’re not going to fire a veteran teacher, and they’re not going to release details of her punishment.”
The school did, however, send out a letter to parents assuring them that student safety comes first.
“We appreciate the concerns for all of our scholars and we are committed to correcting this error,” the letter reads.
The school’s superintendent also spoke with local news stations about the issue to address it head on and to explain that they were meeting with all teachers to clarify appropriate bathroom policies and practices, an action that iJaadee told Bored Panda was “very commendable.”
It’s good to see the school taking an issue like this seriously.
Kids are not prison inmates, and they obviously deserve basic human rights and dignity. As iJaadee pointed out: “Relieving yourself is not a crime.”