Families at a Las Vegas elementary school recently were sent home a letter that encouraged them to practice “bladder endurance” with their first-grade children. Apparently, the students were missing out on class time by getting up to pee. The parents were understandably infuriated and confused.
The letter, which was signed by “the first grade teachers,” starts with what sounds like an ordinary plea. “The first grade teachers need your help!” You’d expect the “help” to be, say, running a booth at the next bake sale or volunteering in the classroom. Well that wasn’t the case and from there, the letter took a dramatic turn.
It stated that “healthy first graders urinate one or two times during the school day.” The teachers expect the first-graders to use the bathroom only during recess, or before school. There is one afternoon bathroom break, and the teachers said they will allow the children to go to the bathroom during class only if it is an ‘emergency.’ Then they shifted the blame to the six-year-old students. “We find that most emergencies stem from children not using the bathroom during the appointed times.”
Their solution? Asking parents to make sure their child uses the bathroom either before school or during lunch break, and training their children to increase “bladder endurance.” The letter recommended that parents have their child wait “10-15 minutes from their first urge and increase the wait time five times per day over the course of two weeks until your child is able to hold their urine for two hours at a time.”
“Thank you for your support!” the letter signed off cheerily.
After receiving an influx of phone calls and Facebook messages from enraged parents, the school’s principal Michelee Crawford sent a letter in response. She also posted the letter on Facebook, which states “the school has never had a policy restricting bathroom breaks for students.” Michelee posted a video alongside the letter, in which she sits with her two children and starts by telling the camera, “that children’s health and wellbeing are one of the first things we take care of” at the elementary school.
We’re very glad the issue has been resolved, but we worry about similar bathroom policies at other schools. User mikka1 took to Reddit to ask for other parents’ thoughts on her fifth grade son’s school bathroom policy, which discourages children from using the bathroom at all during the school day. Not only is this an unfair rule, it’s dangerous and could easily lead to a bladder infection, or an embarrassing accident. About 100 responses confirmed that policies like these are common, and don’t do any justice to students.
What is the bathroom policy at your child’s school? Have you or other parents ever had to challenge it for the sake of your child’s health?