Teacher Who Ordered Girl to Pee in Bucket Provides Important Lesson for Parents

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bucketJust when you think you've heard all the outrageous stories about our nation's schools you can handle, along comes one even more unthinkable. In San Diego a 14-year-old student says her teacher refused to let her use the restroom and made her urinate in a bucket instead.

According to the Los Angeles Times, when the student asked if she could be excused, her art teacher, Gonja Wolf, told her no and that she should go into a storage room, use the bucket, then dump it into the sink. The student says after that she was teased by other students and "no longer feels safe or comfortable" at school. 

I can't say I blame her; it's outrageous. But, as a parent, I think what's almost more concerning than what the teacher told the girl to do is that the girl actually did it

That's not to blame the girl by any means, but I do have to wonder why she followed the teacher's humiliating instructions. Couldn't she have just as easily walked out the door? I would hope that if she'd marched down to the principal's office -- after a stop in the girls' room -- she would have found some support there. Even if she was punished for refusing, it surely would have been better than what happened. 

It's one of those cases that reminds us as parents that beyond all of the lessons we teach our children about the importance of respecting those in authority, we also have to teach them that sometimes it's okay to defy them. We spend so much time teaching them to be obedient, to do as they're asked, to listen to their teacher, and not to speak out of turn, but they need to know that sometimes it's okay to throw that all out the window. It's a fine line, for sure, but an important one.

Time and time again we see the trust of children broken by adults who abuse their power, and we can't just issue a blanket statement to our kids to follow the rules of those in charge. We must teach them to think for themselves, even if that means breaking the rules sometimes. 

The fault here is definitely the teacher's, and the girl's parents are suing for psychological and medical treatment and for the school district to pay for her to attend private school for the rest of high school. Hopefully, they'll get some kind of justice.

Do you teach your children that sometimes defying authority is necessary?

Image via Erlomo/Flickr



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ReiRe... ReiReally

Yes, i'll probably explain to DS and one on the way that no one has the right to take away their basic human rights (including those to bathroom hygiene) even someone in authority over them.

But, it's all a fine line to balance- i don't want my kids to be disrespectful and looking for a reason to can a teacher when they might just be having a bad day like i've seen so many of my peers do in my day and i graduated in '09 but, i wouldn't want them to submit themselves to this kind of crap because they were always taught to respect their superiors no matter what.

nonmember avatar Helena

Thank You! I first read this story on another site and that was my first reaction as well; WHY ON EARTH WOULD SHE ACTUALLY DO IT?! I mean, no one held a gun to her head and forced her, and I doubt any blocked the door leaving her NO OTHER OPTION!

mille... millersmom13

"I think that almost more concerning than what the teacher told the girl to do is that the girl actually did it." How very ignorant of you.

Erin Sites Golden

I feel sorry for her that she didn't have the strength to walk out, if her need to go was that bad. I know that my two older children would have left without a second thought. Now my 14 yr old is a work in progress, but I know she would not have bowed down to that woman's level. I do think it's important to teach them to stand up for themselves, even to someone in auyhority, if the situation calls for it. I just ask that they try to handle it in a "respectful" manner.

nonmember avatar Amy

In 8th grade (13/14 years old!), a girl I knew at school had to go to the bathroom so badly but our teacher refused. She peed on herself & the chair - in front of everyone. Then was yelled at by the teacher. That was the talk of the year. I don't know how that experience followed her in high school, but I'll admit that it was brought up time to time among my friends - though never in front of her. So I can definitely understand a 14 year old doing something like that when they felt all other options were unavailable.

As a parent now, I will definitely teach my kids where the line shall be drawn on obedience.

Also, I doubt she would have received support in the office if she had left. I don't think anyone knows truly "how bad" one must go or rather if they're just being mischievous.

Azzura Azzura

I'm not surprised that she did what she was told, almost any child would. Very few would stand up to that, they are taught to respect authority and follow directions. Kids have to do things they don't want to all the time, it's not right and we try to teach our kids to stand up for themselves, but it doesn't come naturally for all kids. This is a horrific tale, wrong on so many levels. Teachers like this one give the good ones a bad name.

DleeA DleeA

You're totally right. The student could have said no at any time and refused. But let's go even further and include other victims in the blame game as well. Rape victims didn't shout loud enough, assault victims should have fought back, kids being bullied should just learn to "ignore it". See how dangerous that kind of thinking is? You spend a lifetime instilling respect for authority in a child and when that authority turns on them, of course they're not going to know what they SHOULD do. This is someone they've trusted, someone they were taught was looking out for them. Yes, the request feels wrong but she didn't know who to turn to and I do not thinking blaming her helps AT ALL.

melis... melissabilliot

When I was a SENIOR the teacher refused to allow me to go the the restroom...(high stakes testing was going on in other grades).....but NOT IN MINE.....she let several boys go AFTER I asked....we were in that classroom from 7:30-2:30.....with a break at 12:30 for lunch....this was at 9:30.....I asked she said no......I had to call my mom to check me out to USE THE RESTROOM......had I had been taught it was ok to no to authority on cases like this I would have walked out.....needless to say when I went pee and then asked my mom to check me back in see was FURIOUS at the school...

nonmember avatar Amb

If I was this young lady, I would have told the teacher I accidentally missed the bucket! Seriously though, what if this young lady had started her period then, God forbid her first period. At 14, I had my cycle for two years, luckily I was very regular and never had a problem. A young girl will ask to use the restroom because of her cycle, at what may seem a disruption to class time. Shame on the teacher, disgusting.

nonmember avatar Shannon

I'm not entirely surprised. Some 14-year-olds are just getting to the point where they feel comfortable standing up for themselves to an authority figure. This teacher is obviously very intimidating and the poor girl was probably afraid that no one would side with her. I never would have dreamed of talking back to a teacher until maybe junior year, it's just who I was. I will teach my kids that it's OK to defy an adult if they are being denied a basic right, like eating or using the bathroom.

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