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Restriction on Restrooms: Should It Be Allowed?

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Teachers restricting honest students from going to the restroom should not be allowed.

A common way students are restricted from using the restroom is through the use of bathroom passes. Using bathroom passes as a way to decrease the amount of times a student leaves the classroom is not an effective way to make students focus on the lesson.  These passes are meant to decrease the amount of distractions in the classroom by keeping the amount of students that come and go from the room to a minimum while trying to increase the student’s level of focus on their lesson or work. However, the need of using the restroom can trump any kind of focus you have on anything. Having to hold it in can cause a student psychical discomfort or restlessness. This can lead to a student fidgeting around in their seat a lot, distracting other students in their class. 

Just because a student went to the restroom and missed a few minutes of class does not mean they will have no clue on what the lesson is about. Yes, it is understandable for a teacher that spent time on creating a lesson plan for their class schedule to be frustrated when a student leaves in the middle of a lesson to go to the restroom. However, entirely refusing them from leaving is not the solution. 

Many teachers may state that the reason for their stricter restroom policies is to discourage the use of the restroom as an excuse to skip or leave class. Going to the restroom just for the sake of leaving is not something that everyone is going to do. While it is reasonable to not allow a student who has been caught doing something they are not supposed to do while on a restroom trip, it is not justifiable for every student to not be allowed to use the restroom. 

In a survey of the Thunderbird student body, out of the 219 responses, 175 of those responses (nearly 80%) said that they have had an experience where they were restricted from using the restroom.

While having to hold it in once is not enough to cause health problems, having to hold it on multiple occasions over the course of the semester or the whole year may begin to affect your bladder. As stated by Rebecca Nebel, PhD, SWHR’s (Society of Women’s Health Research) director of scientific programs, in an article from teachstarter.com: “Restricting access to the bathroom forces students into unhealthy toileting habits, such as holding in urine, which may create health problems that will follow students into adulthood and decrease their quality of life.” These problems can range from weaker bladder muscles to urinary tract infection.

A teacher may also say that a student should go during lunch or between classes. While going during lunch is a reasonable time, going between classes is just not possible for most students. Going to the restroom takes a varied amount of time, so being able to use the restroom and make it to your next class on time is not possible for some students. 

 While it is reasonable for a teacher to want their students to not disrupt the class, it should not be allowed to turn down a student’s request to go to the restroom. 

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