Parents at one school in Plymouth have voiced their disapproval of an “inhumane” toilet policy, and in an act of desperation, some of those parents are paying money to acquire their children a special toilet pass.
School officials at Marine Academy Plymouth [MAP] verified that students are prohibited from using the restrooms in class and must instead do it before and after school hours, during free blocks and lunchtimes. Toilet passes may be issued in the event of a “medical necessity,” as well as other occasions when cases are examined with parents “to ensure the best support plan is in place”.
There were complaints from parents who said the regulations had caused their daughters to be humiliated when menstruating. Even though Carol Courage, the mother of a 12-year-old girl, confesses that she is desperate, her daughter is still denied access to the restroom.
Carol blames the “inhumane” policy for her daughter’s urinary tract infections on the detentions she received for breaking the regulation (UTIs).
Parents of another 12-year-old student at the school, Dawn Shepard and Trevor Joyce, say their daughter, who has had UTIs, no longer wants to attend school.
Students at Marine Academy may use the restroom whenever they like, as long as they don’t interrupt a class, since their well-being and safety are always the school’s top concern, according to the school.
In order to get a bathroom permission from MAP, the parents of both girls claim they paid £22 for a doctor’s letter. They claim, however, that they must still wait for permission before using the restroom.
Carol told PlymouthLive: “Even if the girls are on their monthlies or anything and need to use the toilet, even if they say they’re going to leak, they’re not allowed to go. Well no, it’s human right to go to the toilet. “I get if they go in a crowd – that’s different – but if they are going on their own they are going to the toilet. It’s inhumane not to let them use the toilet. It’s not just me who thinks this, it’s hundreds of other parents who agree.”
MAP parents responded to Carol’s post in a Facebook group by saying they, too, were ‘discomforted’ by the limits on using the restroom during class time.
She added: “It’s got to the point where if my daughter wants to use the toilet, I have said to her to just walk out of the lesson and use the toilet. She is then put into a compass – a form of detention – for the whole day and then gets half-an-hour detention after school for using the toilet. “I have had to get a doctor’s letter which then costs you £22 from the doctor to say your daughter can use the bathroom. I’m not the only parent who has had to pay that.”
Although Carol has spoken to the school, her daughter is still going home “in tears” because she isn’t permitted to use the bathroom at school, according to one mother. Furthermore, she claims to have contacted Ofsted, where she was informed that it is the responsibility of the individual schools to implement their own rules.
“Urinary tract infections” (UTIs), as defined by the NHS website, are infections of the urinary system and bladder. One of the most common symptoms is a sudden or urgent desire to urinate, which may be addressed with antibiotics. As one of the pieces of advice for avoiding urinary tract infections (UTIs), the section on prevention includes the phrase “do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go.”
Dawn and Trevor report that their daughter dreads coming to school because of the policies in place. “Our daughter has got to the stage where she doesn’t want to go school,” they said. “It’s horrendous. They should have something in place for girls Also to get a doctor’s note for our daughter, it takes ages due to the NHS waiting lists at the moment. “It’s a nightmare because she doesn’t want to go school because the biggest thing on her mind is not being able to use the toilets while she has the infection. She has the toilet pass now which means she can go – but still has to have permission and wait.”
Leigh Withers, Principal of MAP said: “As in all in schools, the welfare and safety of our students is always our first priority. Students can use the toilet at the start of day, break time, between lesson transition, lunchtime and after school. If there is a medical necessity to use the toilet at other times we discuss each case with parents to ensure the best support plan is in place and this may include a toilet pass. Also we do not have unisex toilets. “We will be welcoming our largest ever cohort of Year 7s which is a testament to the excellent education and care students receive here at Marine Academy. As a school we have had to expand our allowed number of entries to fit the demand of parents who seek a school with high expectations, an academic focus and the clarity of vision which at its heart, states that every child who joins Marine Academy should have the opportunity to go to university when they leave. “This year Marine Academy will see 80 per cent of its Year 13s moving on to University and the school will celebrate its greatest ever GCSE results that are likely to see it as one of the highest performing schools in the entire South West.”
The following article is paraphrased, the original article can be found here: https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/parents-paying-22-children-avoid-7306723