VANCOUVER, Wash. (WRIC) -
A third-grade teacher at Mill Plain Elementary School is in hot water after she was accused of going too far by asking students to pay to potty.
Students in the class earn Monopoly play money through good behavior and performance that they can then spend on toys, treats and using the restroom.
Last week, two parents complained that their children wet themselves at school because they couldn’t “afford” to go to the bathroom. Officials in the Evergreen School District are investigating the claim.
“My daughter finally told me, ‘We have to pay to use the bathroom,’” said parent Merchon Ortega. “Nobody should have to pay to use the bathroom.”
Jasmine Alayadhi’s daughter also came home after wetting her pants last week.
“‘I didn’t want to be left out. I wanted to have popcorn with my friends,’ [she said]. And so she tried to hold it,” Alayadhi said. “She said it hurt so bad, the pain was so bad, she goes, ‘I just had to let it go.’”
KOIN Reporter Chris Holmstrom went to the principal to inquire why students at the school were forced to use play money to use the restroom, but he was stopped by security and told the principal was busy.
Holmstrom then went to the Evergreen School District for answers.
“In a situation like this, where the student is earning their fake money, why should they have to use that money to go to the bathroom?” Holmstrom asked.
Gail Spolar, a spokeswoman for the district answered, “It’s all part of how they manage the classroom and so that was the process that was decided upon.”
Holmstrom was told that though students have designated bathroom breaks during the day, it is up to each teacher to monitor students’ bathroom time during class. However, district officials also claim no students are ever denied from using the restroom and are investigating the issue after receiving complaints from parents.
“They have to do something. They have to stop,” Alayadhi said. “It’s inhumane. It’s sickening.”
ABC News reported that a similar issue at Cascades Elementary School in Lebanon, Ore. stirred up controversy in January. At CES, students could use “Super Pro” bucks to use the bathroom outside scheduled breaks; they could also be penalized by losing two minutes of recess for using the bathroom outside the three designated break times.
“I just feel my children should not be punished for having to use the bathroom, even if they didn’t take advantage of a recess break because they may not have been thinking of it. They’re children,” parent Melissa Dalebout told ABC affiliate KATU in Portland, Ore.
Another student, 8-year-old Alexis, feared she would get “clipped down” on her class’s daily behavior chart for using the bathroom too many times. One morning she was in tears because her stomach was upset and she knew that would mean using the bathroom at school.
“I like the chart for behavioral issues,” said Sarah Palkki, Alexis’ mother. “I don’t view going to the restroom as a behavioral issue.”
Principal Tami Volz told KATU, “If a student is chronically leaving the classroom, it becomes an intervention strategy for the teacher … to really encourage them to be in class.”
Though Volz has since dropped the “Super Pro” payment and “clipping down” policies, teachers can still withhold recess time from students who use the bathroom outside of unscheduled breaks.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond ________________________________________________