A suburban Illinois mother is frustrated after her son brought home a bathroom pass that appears to limit student trips to the restroom in a way that she called "unfair" and even "ridiculous."
Melissa Omalley Walker said she was going through her son’s papers from Wredling Middle School in St. Charles, when she discovered a bathroom “passport” that allows students three trips to the restroom per quarter, which extends over the course of nine weeks.
The pass is initialed by the teacher with each visit, and the bottom reads, in all capital letters, “If this form is lost, you lose all remaining trips to the restroom.”
“It just upset me. First, that they limit the kids to how many times they can go to the restroom, and if they lose it, they’re not allowed to go at all,” she said.
Walker said a passport with this policy was given out in her son’s first two classes of the day, and that he has already lost the passport for his second class.
“What if all of a sudden he gets to school and his stomach is bothering him?” she asked. “It’s his first two morning classes, so what if he just gets done eating breakfast or drinking from the morning, and he needs to go to the bathroom – they’re going to limit him? I think it’s just not right for any teacher to tell any kids how many times they’re allowed to use the bathroom.”
Walker said her son has anxiety issues, attention deficit disorder, and is in special education classes, which adds to her concern.
“I could take him to the doctor and get a doctor’s note like everyone is telling me to do, but I shouldn’t have to go through all of that just so my son can use the restroom. That’s ridiculous,” she said.
Walker posted a photo of the passport to Facebook, which quickly garnered comments and criticism over the policy.
“I feel for all kids, not just my son, so I’m trying to get this wiped out for everybody,” she said. “There are kids that may abuse it, but the teachers should know the kids well enough to know which kids will abuse it.”
St. Charles Commmunity Unit School District 303 spokesperson Jim Blaney said there is no district-wide policy on bathroom use, but that the passports were some teachers’ approach to “class management.”
“Middle school students use the bathroom,” Blaney said. “Common sense dictates that if a student goes to the teacher and says they need to use the restroom, the teacher will allow them to use the bathroom. It’s not a policy issue.”
“The entire staff at Wredling has been reminded that if a student comes up to you asking to use the bathroom, you have to use your discretion to let them go,” he added.