School Limits Student Bathroom Visits; Health Concerns, Tips for Parents

Evergreen Park High School in Illinois is limiting bathroom privileges. Students can use the restroom during classes three times per semester and have to carry a signed pass.

How do schools police bathroom privileges?

Schools have been limiting bathroom breaks for several years. In Grand Haven Area Public Schools in Michigan, middle school students must present passes, signed by the teacher. If the student can’t produce the card, they go back to class.

What happens if a student runs out of bathroom visits?

When the card is filled, the student must choose to make up time missed going to the bathroom in after-school detention.

Why can’t students use the bathroom between classes?

This depends on the building design and the time between classes. Most schools allow five minutes between classes. If there is a significant distance between classes or if a student needs to stop to get something for class, there is barely enough time to get to class. There is often a queue for bathrooms between classes as well.

Does limiting breaks pose health concerns?

Children are more susceptible to bladder infections or urinary tract infection. UTI is one of the most common infections in childhood. Three percent of kids get UTI and 8 percent of girls have a UTI history.

One mother at Evergreen Park expressed concern about how limiting bathroom privileges would affect her daughter’s UTI problems. ABC spoke with urologist David Zumerchik, who says it’s unlikely. This contradicts the medical protocol for UTI; kids are advised to drink plenty of water and urinate frequently to prevent bladder infections. If this protocol isn’t followed, UTI can lead to more serious upper UTI. Students can avoid staying properly hydrated to avoid needing to urinate.

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about parenting from 23 years raising four children and 25 years teaching K-8, special needs, home-school and adult education.

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