Schoolchildren in The City who need to use the restroom during class shouldn’t be barred or delayed from doing so, praised or academically rewarded for not doing so, or made to say what exactly they plan to do in the bathroom, according to a new Board of Education proposal.
Board President Jane Kim and student delegates will introduce a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting requesting the San Francisco Unified School District to implement a policy allowing students access to school restrooms “at any time outside of the first five minutes of school.”
“SFUSD students bathroom rights have never been formerly protected or secured,” the resolution said.
The students should not be “punished in any way, including academically, for using the restroom,” the resolution said. They also shouldn’t have to be escorted by staff to bathrooms, or “required to state their reason for using the restroom to any adult other than a school nurse or wellness center staffer,” it said.
The resolution names several reasons for why a districtwide bathroom-access policy is important. It cites a study of Iowa teachers that “showed that one-third of teachers asked students to delay their bathroom break.” It also reveals a list of 20 medical problems that can occur due to “forced retention of body waste,” including urinary tract infection, constipation, absorption of toxic fecal products and so on.
Also, “Many classes of American citizens have been granted the constitutional right to bathroom access by the Supreme Court, including prisoners, involuntarily committed psychiatric patients, and most workers,” the resolution said.
In other words: When the kids say they’ve got to go, let them go.