By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The mother of a third grade girl attending Mill Plain Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington is demanding changes in a school room program where students are required to pay to use the bathroom. The program was to be a lesson in money management where students received and worked for Monopoly Money to buy items in the classroom but the teacher required a payment of M$50.00 in order to use the bathroom.
Jasmine Al-Ayadhi told reporters her nine year old daughter, Reem, did not want to pay to use the bathroom and ultimately had an accident, causing her both discomfort and having to endure teasing by other children. In agreeing with the need to teach children the value of money Jasmine said, “Work for your money, to earn it, to buy like a little toy or a little squirt gun or a little ball. When it comes to a bathroom issue, when a child has to pay money to use the bathroom – that’s wrong. It’s inhumane. That’s a health issue.”
Reem said the students in her class earn money by doing things, such as good deeds, being nice, and finishing school work. She said she uses the money to buy treats like popcorn and pizza.
She also said each student in her class has to pay their teacher M$50 dollars in pretend money to go to the bathroom.
On Thursday, Reem was down to her last M$50. She also had to go to the bathroom. She wanted to buy popcorn, like her friends were doing. She said she wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom because she didn’t want to pay. She then had an embarrassing accident.
“When it comes to using the bathroom, having to hold her pee, and if she wants to use the bathroom, you make a choice,” Jasmine said. “OK, if you want to use the bathroom it’s going to cost you M$50, but then you don’t have money to buy popcorn. What do you think a child’s going to do?”
The school gave Reem a change of clothes, a pair of royal blue boy’s basketball shorts. Reem said the other kids made fun of her for having an accident, and then for having to wear boys clothes.
“It didn’t feel so well because I had to wear boy pants and I did get teased,” Reem said.
Jasmine said she talked to the principal on Thursday, who promised to follow up about the issue on Friday. As of Friday night, Jasmine said she hadn’t heard back.
“This is a school,” Jasmine said. “This isn’t a jail. This isn’t a prison. We send our kids to school to learn and to get a good education.”
The school’s spokeswoman released a statement.
“We were made aware of the situation Friday evening. We will investigate as soon as possible Monday morning. We work hard to ensure the health and safety of every child and will make sure we do not have any classroom rule that prevents that.”
A similar incident occurred in Lebanon, Oregon and was reported by news station KATU of Portland, Oregon and the school principal dropped the payment requirement after the story aired.
A pediatrician was consulted and provided an opinion of this based upon his experience. Dr. Bruce Birk is a Portland pediatrician. He says that there’s consensus in the medical community on this issue.
“It would be chaos in a classroom for teachers not to have a system,” says Birk. “Holding in the classroom in between well-established potty breaks has not been shown in any sense of the word to be harmful to kids.”
Yet the message this might be teaching children is something that some parents are going to have much objection to. But not only the parents have concerns, the incident at Mill Plain Elementary could have been interpreted as close to violating state law, at least in the sprit of the law as noted by the state legislature.
In 1977, when bathrooms requiring payment were more common, the legislature enacted a law in the state’s Public Health and Safety code to address the issue of those needing to use restrooms and facility owners demanding payment for their use. The law reads:
Public restrooms — Pay facilities — Penalty.
(1) Every establishment which maintains restrooms for use by the public shall not discriminate in charges required between facilities used by men and facilities used by women.
(2) When coin lock controls are used, the controls shall be so allocated as to allow for a proportionate equality of free toilet units available to women as compared with those units available to men, and at least one-half of the units in any restroom shall be free of charge. As used in this section, toilet units are defined as constituting commodes and urinals.
(3) In situations involving coin locks placed on restroom entry doors, admission keys shall be readily provided without charge when requested, and notice as to the availability of the keys shall be posted on the restroom entry door.
(4) Any owner, agent, manager, or other person charged with the responsibility of the operation of an establishment who operates such establishment in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
While many could see this as making a mountain out of a mole hill, one has to ask what kind of lesson a policy requiring payment by nine year old students to use a bathroom teaches children.
By Darren Smith
Revised Code of Washington
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.
484 thoughts on “School Made Third Grade Student Pay To Use Bathroom”
i’ve created a petition asking the washington state board of education to end this abuse!
Teachers with good class management skills rarely have problems with students abusing their bathroom privileges.
Someone really likes the sound of that.
Here’s… “A Very Special Snowflake” to break up the tedious and boring…
Anon – unlike The Thin Blue Line which Morris fell into by accident, his films have a result in mind before he starts filming. This one is no different. Speaking of special snowflakes though, Obama surely thinks he is one. Just the way he treats people and reacts to criticism is an indication that he thinks he was born for special things.
I work in the education field and you can allow three or more breaks some kids will still have accidents. They also enjoy going into the bathroom playing and not using and then waiting until it is too late. They have an accident or ask to go again after a short period from their scheduled break. They also like to ask to go when their friends to play, to get out of time out, and avoidance of classwork.No one asks to go during recess or parties, only during lessons or classwork.
jr- don’t confuse them with evidence. Each child is a special snowflake and must be allowed to go to the bathroom whenever requested/demanded. Of course, if you did that, you would have no one to teach, but the special snowflakes would be taken care of.
“Wow! Did you guys waste all that time and half a kilometer of comments, bickering back and forth on this ‘oh so profound’ subject!”
Amazing, isn’t it.
To further comment on my above post, my child’s incident was strictly a poor decision on the teacher; not due to a program. Although I do not agree with the program at all in its current state, I must admit that I did not finish reading the article prior to my post and just realized that the child made a poor choice. That said, I still completely believe that the use of a restroom should never had been an item that she had to decide on.
If my child were in her class I would most probably be in jail today! My child was once told he couldn’t go. He was a model student and always did what he was instructed. Once I received the call from school, I took him fresh clothes and instructed him, in front of the principle, that should that situation every arise again to get up and go anyway and I would deal with the school. Once he went back to class I made it very clear to the principle and everyone else within earshot that I had better never receive another call such as that or there would be hell to pay and I didn’t care if I went to jail! The teacher called to apologize and we have never had another issue. That was at least 7 years ago.
I have no pension. I was self employed and have a SEP, I made the contribution monthly for 25 years as both the employee and employer. I also had the distinct privilege of paying FICA for both myself and the employer. I have paid my dues, limey. No dole like in your homeland.
Wow! Did you guys waste all that time and half a kilometer of comments, bickering back and forth on this ‘oh so profound’ subject! Annie & Spinelli must have pretty good pensions!
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