Can Teachers Limit Restroom Use?

By: Brandon Yarber ii

Some teachers have beeen limiting or even denying student restroom use around the nation.

Not only is not allowing students to use the restroom during class and forcing them to "hold it" is viewed as morally wrong by students and parents, it is also unlawful. A student has the right to use the restroom, and no teacher can take that from them. The argument from teachers is that it interrupts instruction time and some students abuse their ability to use the restroom. This is an issue, but it cannot be solved by completely not allowing students to use the restroom during class.

Letter from child expert regarding restroom use.

"School staff need to be sensitive to the physical needs of children, including the use of the bathroom. Not all children are able to "hold it" until break time, thus flexibility should be allowed.

If a child seems to need several trips to the restroom throughout the day the the parents should meet with the teachers and guidance staff to see if this is typical or atypical behavior of the child.

If there exists a medical or developmental concern, then the child's physician may need to provide medical documentation.

However, given the heightened concern for bullying within schools, in my opinion at no time should a child be ridiculed by staff or students. Period."

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP

Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Owner of Signing Families

Host of Learning and Laugher with Louise (www.toginet.com)

Tennessee State Guidenlines regarding restroom use.

According to Tennessee state guidelines, anything detrimental to student health is prohibited. It has been proven on multiple accounts that denial of restroom use can be detrimental to student health.

"Healthy school environment concerns the quality of the physical and aesthetic surroundings; the psychosocial climate, safety, and culture of the school; the school safety and emergency plans; and the periodic review and testing of the factors and conditions that influence the environment. Factors and conditions that influence the quality of the physical environment include the school building and the area surrounding it; transportation services; any biological or chemical agents inside and outside the school facilities that are detrimental to health; and physical conditions such as temperature, noise, lighting, air quality and potential health and safety hazards. The quality of the psychological environment includes the physical, emotional and social conditions that affect the safety and well being of students and staff. Qualified staff such as facilities and transportation supervisors, principals, school and community counselors, social workers, psychologists, school health nurses, health educators, and school safety officers assess and plan for these factors and conditions in the school environment." -Tennessee state guidelines.

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The link above gives examples of how to deal with bathroom usage.

Works Cited

"Teacher Who Denied Student Use of Bathroom Suspended | Fox News." Fox News. FOX News Network,

02 Mar. 2006. Web. 02 May 2016.

Kelly, Melissa. "Restroom Use." About.com Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

Sattler, Louise. "Is Is Acceptable for a Teacher to Refuse to Allow a Student to Use the Bathroom When

Necessary?" Is Is Acceptable for a Teacher to Refuse to Allow a Student to Use the Bathroom When

Necessary? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.

Couture, Laurie A. "Using the Bathroom Is a Right, Not a Privilege!" Letter. N.d. MS. N.p.

Kubly, Mr. Charles R., and RIchard E. Fairfax. "Letter about Restroom Issues from US Department of

Labor." Letter. 2 Feb. 2006. MS. N.p.

Steve Hodges, M.D. "You Won't Believe Some Schools' Bathroom Policies." Letter. N.d. MS. N.p.

Jacobs, Ashley. "Elementary School Sued over ‘harmful’ Bathroom Policy." Online Posting. Fox 5 San Diego. N.p., 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.

TENNESSEE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR TENNESSEE’S COORDINATED SCHOOL HEALTH PROGRAM. Rep. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.