By Susan Parrish / The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.
A teacher accused of denying third-graders potty breaks at Mill Plain Elementary School will not be disciplined following one of two investigations, according to a teachers-union representative.
Both investigations stemmed from parent complaints after two girls wet their pants May 15. They said the teacher refused to let them use the restroom during class. The class has a rewards system in which students could use play money they earn to pay for bathroom breaks, though the rules always allowed students to use the bathroom if it was an emergency, according to Evergreen Public Schools.
The investigative report, released by the district Thursday afternoon, stated that the classroom policy for additional bathroom breaks came in response to numerous class interruptions, with students leaving to use the restroom.
The decision to use classroom dollars was based on a class system already in place. The teacher did not want to introduce a new bathroom-pass system that would require students to deal with two systems.
The investigation into the second parent complaint is ongoing.
The teacher’s union came to the defense of the teacher Thursday afternoon with a statement released by Gloria M. Smith, president of the Evergreen Education Association. Smith said children were never denied bathroom breaks, the staff member has not been placed on leave, and no disciplinary measures have been taken.
Gail Spolar, Evergreen Public Schools spokeswoman, said the teacher was out of class Monday, but in class the rest of the week.
Jasmine Al-Ayadhi, the mom of a girl who wet her pants, said the school should have called her and asked her to bring a change of clothes for her daughter. The office attendant gave the girl a choice of black capri pants or blue athletic shorts.
“They gave her an option of black spandex pants that were size 7, or boy’s blue shorts. My daughter is a size 10,” Al-Ayadhi said. “She was being teased. The boys were making fun of her because of the shorts.”
Al-Ayadhi said she is not sending her daughter back to Mill Plain Elementary.
“How can you return a child to a school where she’s being humiliated and degraded?” Al-Ayadhi said.
She said she plans to home-school her daughter.