HomeOpinionTeachers, don’t pass on student bathroom use during class

Teachers, don’t pass on student bathroom use during class

Published Nov. 9, 2022


Using the restroom is a human right, not a privilege, and high schools should be no exception. 

Bathroom rights might be something one just assumes, but according to California law, there are no guidelines that decide whether teachers must allow bathroom usage, and CHS has a lack of a general policy on whether a student can leave the classroom to use the restroom. For decades, teachers here have created bathroom policies based on their personal systems instead of regulated national or state-wide rules. 

To complicate the process of going to the bathroom so that fewer students leave class, teachers employ tactics to limit wasted time. For example, requiring physical, reused bathroom passes, asking students to sign out on whiteboards or a piece of paper, and implementing phone holders to store phones–preventing students from bringing phones to the bathroom during class–all shorten bathroom trips. 

Despite students’ constant search for bathroom freedom and occasionally ignored use of passes or sign-out sheets, the rights to CHS students’ bathroom use during class have shrunk quite significantly.

Issues with bathroom use aren’t just the case in Carmel. According to Fox 11, students in San Bernardino have recently been only allowed to use the bathroom once a month or five times a semester, the exception being in emergency situations. Although extreme, San Bernardino’s case is one among a plethora of bathroom-pass issues. 

Some teachers at CHS rely on a trust-based relationship with their students when they leave class. If students violate the rules, teachers have to resort to more severe restrictions for certain students. For example, a student with a better track record who leaves the classroom less frequently for a reasonable amount of time would be trusted more than a student who leaves often for a longer period of time. 

On the other side of the problem, disallowing a student from using the restroom and not knowing students’ personal needs can create an uncomfortable, unestablished line for the authority between teacher and student. Instances like needing to use the bathroom while menstruating can make a student uncomfortable to ask to use the bathroom, and each classroom having its own set of rules forces students to resort to periodically using the restroom in certain classes and avoiding it entirely in others for fear of consequences. 

In an attempt to lessen the disturbance and uncomfortable nature of raising one’s hand, asking for permission, physical bathroom passes can seem like the better option. But frankly, reusing physical bathroom passes is highly unsanitary and extremely impractical. Simply ditching the reused bathroom passes would prove to be a step in the right direction to achieve bathroom liberation. 

There will always be a kid who bends the rules and disrespects authority. If someone abuses the power to leave class to use the bathroom, evidence of poor decisions will come to fruition. If granted free time, some students will make the decision to abuse their freedom. If they are made aware of their poor actions through authoritative intervention, a lesson in time management can be learned. Part of maturity is realizing when the appropriate time is.

The question is simple: Should the rights of students’ bodily functions still be confined within the classroom? 

The right of the student to go to the bathroom during class should not be infringed upon unless there is a compelling reason to do so. 

Latest comments

  • My daughters are both chronically I’ll and have been their entire lives. 100% non visible. Although I went above and beyond to educate and inform teachers they never listened. Not in 16 years in the district. They didn’t even value and listen to their doctors. One a pediatric cardiologist and another a neurologist. Nope. A fight I lost every day for 16 years.

    One was on medication that made her pee a lot. It’s called lasix. It helps her heart from gathering water and her entire body from being puffy and hurting. She would be refused a bathroom break daily. She peed her pants in elementary school and was bullied all through school for this and her heart defect. Kids called her 2 chamber and told her she can’t love because she doesn’t have a whole heart. No teacher, no counselor, no principal ever did a thing except shame me and bully me if I talked to them about it. Her desk was moved into the hallway and teachers told her she didn’t deserve an education. This was at a “California distinguished school” which is an utter joke btw….
    My kids have been out of school since 2010/2011 and the damage the school system had is lifelong on all 3 of us. I have PTSD somewhat due to the school district and am triggered often. The worse mistake I made as a parent was sending my kids to school. They are toxic bullies at every level and horrible at educating any child that doesn’t fit their cookie cutter mold. I will continue to try and heal but some things just are not forgiveable. Need to write a book.
    Teachers and educators….some of the worse humans we have sadly.

    • “Teachers and educators….some of the worse humans we have sadly”

      She said about the profession that takes at least 6 years to get credentialed in and an extra 2 years to clear. To only make a fraction of money that their same educated peers make. To teach and educate other peoples kids all while getting minimal support and all of the blame.

      There are bad people (unfortunately) in all professions. Do not let a very small fraction of people make you say that they are the worse people we have. It is a joke.

  • ***** correction…my eldest daughter’s Doctor was the head Neuro Oncologist at Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) Dr. Wei Ping Violet Shen (now retired) not a neurologist that the school system ignored. She did have a Neurologist (useless sadly being the guinea pig generation so he could just document) as well as 12 other Doctors of course also sadly useless given the circumstances. Her Neuro Surgeon was Dr. Clarence Greene (whom I met in the OR 13 hours after a random diagnosis and literally collapsed on the floor at what he told me….who is still practicing out of Texas Children’s Hospital last I heard. But he never contacted the schools in fact he once said after asking me how she was doing after the surgery that saved her life at 13 months “oh just stop there . I remembered I can’t hear what happens to my kids or I won’t be able to keep doing what I do” Surgeons…. phenomenal humans in almost all my experience…cut from a different cloth***

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