St. Charles school drops limits on bathroom breaks

 
 
Updated 9/15/2016 6:10 AM
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  • Students no longer need a special passport to use the bathroom at Wredling Middle School in St. Charles after parents expressed concerns about unrealistic limits on how often children could go when they really needed to.

    Students no longer need a special passport to use the bathroom at Wredling Middle School in St. Charles after parents expressed concerns about unrealistic limits on how often children could go when they really needed to.

Students no longer need a special passport to use the bathroom at Wredling Middle School in St. Charles after parents expressed concerns about unrealistic limits on how often children could go when they really needed to.

The issue stoked anger among several district parents last week when Wredling parent Melissa Walker posted a photo of a passport "for restroom/other" her son received from one of his teachers. The passport indicated students could only be excused from class to use the bathroom three times in a grading quarter. A lost passport would result in the loss of bathroom privileges. None of that sat well with Walker, who has a son with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety that can cause him to use the bathroom three times just while getting ready for school.

Walker received notice from Wredling Principal Steve Morrill on Wednesday that the passports would no longer be used to track bathroom trips.

"I know it is going to take the anxiety out of getting ready for school in the mornings now," Walker said of the decision. "I'm just relieved this is taken care of, and that the school called me and put my mind at ease."

Morrill said he met with his entire staff as soon as the bathroom passport concerns came to light and confirmed they will no longer use the passports to monitor bathroom use. However, teachers will still track students' trips in and out of classrooms -- regardless of whether it is to the bathroom. Morrill said middle school students can be impulsive, and they need to learn both time management and how to deal with problems, such as forgetting to bring a pencil to class, in ways other than losing classroom time. Paying attention to how often a student says he or she wants to go to the bathroom can also help uncover medical or other problems a student may have, he said.

"At no time, even with that passport procedure, were we keeping students from using the bathroom," Morrill said. "That sort of limitation would never be tolerated."

School district spokesman Jim Blaney said the use of a bathroom passport system was an individual teacher or teaching team's decision, and district officials did not order the discontinuation of the passports at Wredling. There is still no districtwide policy on student bathroom use. There may still be other teachers at other St. Charles schools using the passports or a similar system.

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