Wimpy Principal Bans Bathroom Breaks in High School


school bathroomWhen I found out my daughter's teacher was a big proponent of the water bottle on the desk, I was ready to get down and kiss her feet. Keep kids drinking water, and you're helping them win the fight against childhood obesity. Which is why I'm glad my kid doesn't go to the Chicago-area school that has banned the bathroom breaks that inevitably come from guzzling H2O.

The principal at Evergreen Park High School has instituted a three potty breaks per semester rule for his school. It's a school, mind you, where kids spend 83 minutes in each class on a block schedule. It's a school where either the administrator is ridiculous or the teachers have no clue how to manage a classroom.

Tell a kid they can only use the bathroom three times over a course of months, and you're pretty much eliminating the chance that they'll stick to the healthy water drinking. Instead they'll hit the cafeteria at lunchtime with empty stomachs and gobble down the drek that you find in a typical school lunchroom. Way to go! 

And let's say the kids do have to go to the bathroom? Holding your urine on a regular basis has been shown to cause urinary incontinence. According to the National Institutes of Health, kids who hold their urine for long periods of time are more prone to urinary tract infections which -- here's an irony for you -- will actually require them to use the bathroom MORE frequently.

Of course the principal at Evergreen Park says kids are using the bathroom as an excuse to get out of class, and they're missing out on valuable learning time. He's absolutely right. Some teenagers would love nothing more than an excuse to get out of a classroom. So maybe the principal and the school's teachers need a refresher course in how to manage a classroom?

This isn't rocket science. If my 6-year-old's teacher can manage 20 first-graders with tiny bladders and short attention spans drinking all day, I think some high school teachers can handle it. See a kid who is always demanding a bathroom pass, and you pull them aside and say they need a doctor's note proving they have a condition that requires excessive urination or they're going to sit their hiney back in that seat. Set limits on how long they can spend outside of the classroom, and follow through on threats of detention if they don't return from the potty in a set amount of time (isn't that what they always tell us as parents?).

Discipline the kids, don't take a hit at their health!

Would you support a bathroom ban at your kid's school?


Image via james.gordon1608/Flickr

school, safety, health


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PonyC... PonyChaser

You DO understand, don't you, that this isn't a "bathroom ban", and the students are not "banned" from the bathroom ALL DAY LONG. They have passing time (yes, it's only five minutes between classes, but it's still there) when they can use the bathroom. This is only a restriction on the time that they can have OUT OF CLASS to use the bathroom.

When I was in HS, we only had 5 minutes passing time between classes, and I (and all my friends) managed to get into the bathroom if we needed it. We rarely, if ever, needed to leave class to do it.

Further... you only have to pee like crazy when you first start drinking a lot of water, as your body gets used to having that much extra liquid. After about a week of regularly drinking water, your body adjusts, and you don't have to pee all that much.

I don't understand why this is such an outrage for so many people.

Senia... Seniahmom

This is ridiculous. I know people in that area and they are livid - especially moms of girls. I don't expect this policy to last long and I don't expect the sensible teachers to adhere to it.

clg1213 clg1213

is there any monthly provision for the young women??? it is HS, they are old enough to have period-related needs.

clg1213 clg1213

as for going during the passing time (pony's reply overlapped with mine)....i think that may work in some schools.  but would NOT have in mine...big and crowded, it took me the full 5 to get to my next class (no locker stops till lunch...often only one class was after lunch given the number of lunch periods we had to accomodate 2500 kids)

nonmember avatar Little Frogs

They are allowed to use the restrooms during passing periods. We can start with the obvious: some kids abuse bathroom passes and miss out on significant amounts of instruction because of it. But for those of you who aren't in schools on a regular basis, here's a primer.

But please consider the following activities that have all occurred while students were supposedly going to the bathroom in MIDDLE schools that I have had first hand experience with: assault, property destruction, planned fights, texting with classmates in class, vandalism, defecation in sinks and defecation in urinals. The hallways are not supervised during class periods because students are supposed to be in class and thus wandering kids can get into trouble.

That list of problem behaviors that kids sometimes exhibit during classtime potty breaks extends to things like sex, drugs, and smoking in high school.

Imagine if you will, a young man take a bathroom break and assaults a girl also taking a bathroom break. Imagine your outrage that they were unsupervised and teachers allowed this to occur.

Without a doubt this policy was put in place because students were significantly abusing bathroom passes.

Sixteen year olds are not five year olds. They can hold their pee. THey can plan.

Kritika Kritika

I don't see how in the world this prepares our students for the real world, which is what school is for. You can go to the bathroom in college as well as at your job.

This is mismanagement or laziness of the teacher and not the student. Give 1 bathroom pass and each student must wait their turn. If that 1 person is missing more than 10 minutes or so then address it after class. Thats what we did in my school and I don't remember anyone failing due to potty breaks.

butte... butterflymkm

I went to a small school where five minutes was enough to get to your locker and to class but not if you were a girl at that time of the month. Not to be TMI but the tampon/pad changing process can be messy and takes a little bit of practice, especially when you are still young and figuring it out and your cycles are all over the place and heavy one minute and light the next.

Doomy234 Doomy234

This is the most ridiculous rule I have ever heard of for a school. Not only are there health risks, as you mentioned, but then you give kids a 3-5 minute break to not only to get to their next class, which takes 1-2 minutes, and possibly relieve themselves, which could range between 1-5 minutes depending on the person and the situation. And not only that but if you ban bathroom breaks then during hall time the bathrooms will be full of students waiting to empty their bladders and high school bathrooms have 3 maybe 4 stalls each. Try getting at least fifty students through there in your five minute limit and its probably not going to happen. And then those students will be forced to wait another hour and twenty minutes before they get another chance to go. And chance is the big word there. It is impractical and immoral to ban bathroom breaks.

hotrd... hotrdumommy

I agree with Kritika on this because when I was in college you could go to the restroom as you saw fit and it was your responsibility to get whatever notes you missed while you were out. At work you can go when you see fit to go but you have to make sure your work gets done. I went to a high school where I was lucky if I had time to use the bathroom between classes. My locker was in the basement and my classes were on the second and third floors. I don't think this policy will stand longer than it should.

jelly... jellyphish

While five minutes MAY be enough time for SOME people to use he bathroom and changes classes, it will hardly be enough time for ALL or MOST students to do so. They're going to end up with long lines at the bathroom and excessive amounts of tardiness from students who had to wait to pee or changes tampons or whatnot. It's not gonna last long.

And yeah, if it were my kid's school, I'd talk to this principal about granted my child permission to pee.

And you know what, if it were MY school, there'd probably be some kind of protest where kids either all charge to the bathroom mid sixth period or just pee in their seats.

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