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Limiting student bathroom use harms student physical and mental health

Limiting+student+bathroom+use+harms+student+physical+and+mental+health

It is common knowledge that humans have natural urges to use the bathroom. However, what happens when we get told when we can and cannot go, regardless of our natural callings?

Some students complain about needing to use the bathroom during class, and some hesitate to ask or decide not to go.

Teachers’ classroom policies can sometimes be harmful. “A teacher only gave us three passes each semester and took away three points each time we went to the bathroom,” said a Franklin High School student who wished to remain anonymous to avoid reprisal.

This alleged classroom dynamic, if true, academically punishes students who use the bathroom, which would be unethical.

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At Franklin, the 15-minute rule is well known among students. The 15-minute rule is that once class begins, you must wait 15 minutes before you can go to the bathroom. The bathrooms remain closed until those 15 minutes are over.

This policy may violate the California State Educational Code, which states, “The school shall keep all restrooms open during school hours when pupils are not in classes, and shall keep a sufficient number of restrooms open during school hours when pupils are in classes.” The 15-minute rule violates this by keeping bathrooms closed despite the law requiring schools to keep restrooms open during school hours.

Often, students feel obligated to reveal personal information to convince their teachers to let them go to the bathroom. Jaine Malone (11), a student at Franklin, said, “When I was in PE, I asked if I [could] go to the bathroom, and my teacher said no… He asked why I needed to go so bad, and I said because I’m on my period… I shouldn’t have to tell a [male teacher] that.”

Needing to persuade a teacher to let you use the restroom can be an uncomfortable experience. Furthermore, it is distasteful when teachers do not believe students when they speak up about their needs. These types of situations can be harmful, especially for female students.

According to Worldbank.org, “Poor menstrual hygiene, however, can pose serious health risks, like reproductive and urinary tract infections, which can result in future infertility and birth complications.” Schools are risking their students’ health when bathroom use is restricted.

Most schools justify their bathroom rules because they do not want students missing class, but it should not be argued against when someone has to go.

Teachers and administrators often claim that students abuse their bathroom break as a time to skip class, but why does the school let a few bad apples ruin it for other students? It is not fair; each individual should be responsible for their own actions. Some students who ask to use the bathroom plan to skip class, but only some intend to do the same thing. Those students should be held accountable for their actions. Their peers should not be punished collectively.

Using the restroom is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. Regardless of age, nobody should control when another is allowed to use the bathroom. It is distasteful, immoral, and unfair toward students.

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