School is very different today, with Covid-19 sparking remote learning, social distancing, and other changes. Add to this stress the problem that a student needs to go to the restroom and cannot be excused. Now school has become unbearable.

That is exactly what happened at one school when a teacher decided to send home a note sparking outrage among students and parents. Aspire Hanley Middle School teacher Ms. White sent out a note stating that students were allowed only two hall passes for the entire month. This included trips to the restroom, to visit the school nurse, or even to talk with administration. No other passes would be given unless a doctor’s note was provided due to a medical condition. The note continued to include the punishments that would be handed out if students needed to go to the restroom, to see the school nurse, or to get water, after they had used their two monthly passes. Failure to comply with the bathroom policy issued by Ms. White would result in automatic detention and a zero grade on whatever assignment the class was working on when the student decided to go outside of the class. Ms. White went on to say that she realized she was ‘petty’ and that any comments questions or concerns would be addressed before or after school “although nothing will change”. Finally, at the bottom of the note was the a final warning: “If you lose your pass, I’M SORRY, TRY AGAIN NEXT MONTH”. She also concluded that she could deny access to the restroom, nurse, or administration even if a student had NOT used up their two monthly passes.

Parents were outraged. Soon the note was posted onto social media sites, where it gained loads of negative attention. Many parents were able to view the nasty note before it was taken down. One parent noted that Ms. White was powerless at home. She brought her control issues to the classroom, the only place that she had supreme authority. Of course, this letter did not fail to find its way to the school board. The school superintendent, Mr. Nickalous Manning was made aware of the letter soon after it posted online. Mr. Manning immediately instigated an internal investigation into the situation. The regional director of the charter school, Altovise Boyd, stated that students in the charter school are not restricted from access to restrooms and the school nurse, and that there is no such policy in place. While the investigation is ongoing and parents are still waiting for answers, it is clear that Ms. White will need to amend her personal policy. Students must be allowed to use the restroom, visit the nurse and attend to other urgent matters when they arise, without the fear of being punished.