June 06, 2006

Toilet Time

Back when my Darling Democrat and I both worked, we would put the Apolitical Pooch in her crate at 6:30 and release her when we got home at 3:300 -- an 9-hour crate time with no bathroom break. We would immediately get her to the field across teh street when we came home.

Why can't a teen be expected to wait 90 minutes to use the restroom -- especially with many schools having 10-minute passing periods between classes?

Even though Daniel Thornton occasionally needed to go to the bathroom during his AP history course last year, he also needed a B on the midterm to maintain his grade. So he did what lots of students at Forest Park Senior High School in Woodbridge do in their Darwinian pursuit of academic success: Thornton endured a full bladder and instead hoarded his two restroom passes, which, unused, were worth six points of extra credit.

It was enough to bump the 18-year-old's midterm grade from a C-plus to a B.

"Occasionally it made days unpleasant, but I was just very careful. I would try to go in the five minutes beforehand or afterwards, between classes," said Thornton, who will graduate this month. "Some of my classmates definitely had a lot of trouble. People around me would fidget, especially girls."

Bladder control, especially in an era of 90-minute classes, is a vital skill in many Washington area high schools, where administrators often limit access to restrooms during class to reduce interruptions and quash potential mischief in areas without adult supervision.

Restrooms, of course, have been a choice milieu for school scofflaws since the advent of indoor plumbing. With school security a top priority, administrators have become vigilant enforcers as they try to block loitering, bullying or drug use in student restrooms.

What I've noticed is that many kids are using the restroom as the new phone booth. I've heard whispered comments about same-sex encounters as well -- especially in the girls restroom. And of course, there are the other illicit transactions mentioned in the article.

And the interesting thing is that it is usually the same kids wanting to go at the same time.

And I won't get into the question of the girls whose period apparently begins on the first day of school and runs through the end of May -- shouldn't they seek medical assistance?

What I am saying is that 90% of these bathrooom breaks are about getting out of class for illicit purposes -- not taking care of necessary bodily functions.

As a result, I will be very happy to see my school return to a more traditional schedule, with 45 minute periods. After all, there will be no excuses for not being able to wait in most instances -- and since our school declares teh first 20 minutes and last 20 minutes of each period to be a "dead time" when no student is permitted in the hall, we won't have any time to send them anyway!

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I can't believe that a kid can go from a C+ to a B on a midterm because he never left class to go to the bathroom.

When I complain about getting middle school kids that have "B"s and can't multiply yet, I should be able to assume that they know most of middle school mathematics, not that they can control their bladder or remain quiet when the teacher is talking.

My school only has 5 minute passing times and is two buildings (it used to be two seperate schools years ago). I've lobbied for longer passing times, but nothing has ever become of it because we are worried about fighting if the kids "linger".

|| Posted by IB a Math Teacher, June 14, 2006 12:43 PM ||

Yeah, I hold it all day, since we are supposed to do hall duty during passing time, and I have had three good sized babies.

I am going to have to go to the bathroom pass system, too, because I had a few kids who wanted to go all the time. This is ridiculous.

|| Posted by Ms Cornelius, June 15, 2006 10:08 AM ||

Are you kidding me? I think I went to the bathroom at the most 2 times in the WHOLE DAY in high school. I got there at 7:30 and my last class got out at 2:30. How can they not make it through a 90 minute class? Nearly all of my second graders do. The only one I have that doesn't, I think she has medical issues.

These kids need to learn to plan their time better.

|| Posted by Lady S, June 15, 2006 08:08 PM ||
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