Teacher restroom policies: reward or punishment?

Anmol Mahal, Staff Writer

“It can wait”— a term students have become so used to hearing that they don’t bother asking teachers to use the restroom when they know they are going to be denied or penalized.  Many teachers like to keep their students in class as much possible and in order to do so they have created a pass system for bathroom usage.

The pass system rewards students for using the least number of passes possible by providing extra credit at the end of the quarter for all unused passes.  Many students take advantage of this opportunity and save the passes to boost their grades at the end of the quarter.  But in order to save those passes the students resort to “holding it in” until they get a chance to actually use the bathroom.

“We can’t go when she [Ms. Vang] is talking and she is always talking so we have to hold it in,” junior Kehaulani Prodigalidad said of her Pre-Calculus teacher.

Teachers say that it is the student’s responsibility to deal with their business during lunchtime or passing periods, but many students argue that passing periods are not long enough to use the restroom and make it to class on time.

Teachers have created different bathroom policies, such as Pre-Calculus teacher Lou Vang. Vang’s policy consists of providing her students one pass each month and if students need to use the restroom more than once a month they must serve 10 minutes detention.

“I don’t think 10 minutes of your time is too much to ask for if they use the bathroom; I will not deny anyone from going to the bathroom but they will have to serve detention,” Vang said.  Vang also says that the reason for creating such a strict policy is due to the misuse of the bathroom privilege.

Principal Bill Atterberry and Vice-Principal Sera Baysinger said that the school does not have a set bathroom policy, thus each teacher is allowed to implement individually designed policies.  Also the California Education Code doesn’t state any specific regulations regarding bathroom usage during class, meaning there are no restrictions to what type of bathroom policies teachers use.

“I think that it is unfair that students have to serve detention after school just because they have to use the bathroom,” Salvador Andrade’s mother, Carmen Andrade, said.  “It shouldn’t be much of a hassle to write a student a bathroom pass when they have to go.”

Andrade’s mother also says it is unfair for girls to have to serve detention when they are dealing with an emergency.

Some teachers have created unique bathroom policies that go beyond the typical two passes a quarter policy.  Band teacher Joe Sandoval gives his students 100 points extra credit at the beginning of the quarter and takes away 50 points every time a student needs to use the restroom.

“My policy has only affected one student’s grade since I’ve had it,” Sandoval said.

Many band students said that they are fine with the policy.

However many of Vang’s students are outraged by her policy because they feel that it is excessive and unjust.

“I don’t get why I can’t go to the bathroom when I want,” junior Thanh Le said. “I can’t help the fact that I have to use the bathroom; passing periods aren’t long to use the bathroom and get to class.”

Many teachers said that they wouldn’t deny anyone the right to go the bathroom but they have to pay the price, whether it be detention or losing points — and there is no policy in California restricting them from exacting that price.