Students are justified when they pass on the pass

In response to stricter bathroom pass policies at TPHS, some teachers have gone too far in preventing students from leaving class, risking their health and creating an uncomfortable classroom environment.

Prior to the 2022-23 school year, TPHS experienced an increase in issues surrounding bathroom usage, including vandalism and prolonged absences from class.

Following that behavior, administrators recommended that teachers enforce stricter policies for using the bathroom during class, according to Principal Rob Coppo.

However, a handful of teachers are using questionable policies that are frankly unethical, such as providing extra credit to students who do not use the restroom during class, assigning absurd and unsanitary hallway passes and blatantly restricting students from exercising their rights to relieve themselves whenever they need.

While most high school students are mature enough not to abuse a bathroom pass, it appears that the default belief among teachers is that all requests to leave class are insincere. As a result, students are often faced with phrases like “not right now” or “you went to the bathroom last class, sit down.” Sometimes, students are even answered with a simple “no,” without an explanation. The health of students is at risk when the well-being of their body is put in the hands of a teacher.

While such dismissals of bathroom requests are concerning, there are a few extreme practices on campus that are truly alarming. According to TPHS students who asked to remain anonymous, at least six teachers on campus are offering extra credit in exchange for not using the restroom during class.

A larger number of teachers were using this policy, which violates the California Education Code, prior to being approached by administration, according to Coppo. TPHS administrators confirmed this violation, saying action would be taken to stop this practice.

Teachers who use, or have used, this system in the past claim that they do so for “motivational” purposes, hoping to ensure students are engaged and present in the classroom.

Beyond this, many teachers require students to carry around a random pass when using the restroom. For some classes, teachers don’t state the need to carry a pass in the syllabus, but in other classes, students are publicly embarrassed by the teacher when returning to the classroom without some odd object in hand deemed a “pass.”

Some of the most difficult passes have consisted of a log, a toilet seat, a spatula and a steel women’s bathroom plaque.

Beyond their inconvenience, these passes bring up questions of proper sanitation, as the objects travel to and from the restroom, are often placed on the bathroom floor and many, if not all of them, are not sanitized between uses.

Schools claim that one of their main priorities is the safety of students. How are administrators able to tolerate the actions of some teachers who are putting their students’ health at risk? Students deserve to feel safe at school and should never need to worry about the cleanliness of classroom objects or their ability to relieve themselves on campus.

Instead of asking students to lug a log to the bathroom or offering incentives to forgo relief, teachers should utilize a check-out system and issue single-use paper hall passes, which will track and control how long and how frequently students are leaving class.

TPHS classrooms should be places of learning, not squirming. Teachers must allow students the right to relieve themselves at their will.

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