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Stuknreality

PreK denied bathroom by staff

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On her way into meet with her teacher for the first time, my 4 year old preK Student was denied use of the restroom. The secretary has been cruel before but this seems not only Immoral but illegal. Please help me understand my child's rights so I can pursue this issue further. 

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School had just begun for the other students, including my 6 and 7 year old, and our meeting with the new teacher was not for another 20 minutes. We are always asked to wait outside of the building if we are early for meetings but I came in with my older children so that I could allow my 4 year old to use the bathroom as she had asked and was now doing the pee pee dance. I went into the office and began to sign myself in under the assumption that of course my child could use the bathroom and while explaining that we were just headed to the bathroom and we'd proceed outside afterwards the secretary told me no. I asked what Olivia was supposed to do, she's 4, freshly potty trained how should we handle this, she responded with " I don't know how YOU Should handle it. You are too early to enter the building you have to go back outside."

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On 9/5/2016 at 5:28 AM, Stuknreality said:

this seems . . . illegal.

 

I'm not sure what "seems illegal" might mean, but I can't imagine any state has a law that makes what you described illegal.

 

 

On 9/5/2016 at 5:28 AM, Stuknreality said:

Please help me understand my child's rights so I can pursue this issue further.

 

Not really sure what you have in mind, but the way to "pursue this issue further" is to speak with the teacher and/or the principal.  It's not a legal issue.

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So it's legal to deny a 4 year old access to the bathroom in her own school? I have spoken to the teacher, principal and board of education.  I am waiting to hear back from the board of education on how they'd like to proceed and I am trying to find out what direction I can move. 

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And I did take my child to the bathroom even though we were told we weren't allowed to go. But I don't want this happening again. This is not an isolated issue. The woman has been harassing me and other parents for some time. All of the situations I've had with her personally have been documented but nothing has been done to correct her behavior. Going to the board was my last move but if she isn't taken out of her position I'm looking for a legal means to do that. This is not about vengeance though, please understand that. This is about a positive atmosphere where children aren't denied essential rights while in the care of reasonable adults. 

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This whole incident sounds really blown out of proportion and going to the Board about it sounds absurd.  The secretary may be snarky but rise above it.  Just be polite even if she is not.  You say she has harassed you and other parents for some time.  If the other parents feel as you do, they should contact the principal as well.  Maybe if enough people express legitimate concerns about her behavior, the principal will speak to her about it.  From a safety/security standpoint I can understand her reluctance to let you and your children into the building early.  Hopefully part of Olivia's potty training is to "hold it" when appropriate facilities are not available. 

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Many years in a school system and insisting they remove an employer for something like this is not at all reasonable. This is one of those cases  where an exception wouldn't have hurt but public schools are not public restrooms, nor are they gathering places. There isn't a law that says they must allow visitors to the school to enter early nor permit restroom access on demand. You were able to use the restroom anyway so there wasn't even a negative consequence.

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 This is her school, which she attends. This was a school day when visitors are welcome. The bell had rung. I was signing her in. We were not visiting. She is a 4 year old student of the school. We were not early for school just early for the group meeting with the teacher. This was not a matter of security. She attends the school. Even the teachers could have escorted her to the bathroom without me if need be. The  incident may sound blown out of proportion because I didn't give you all the details to the other situations I've already dealt with. Myself and other parents and teachers and staff have all reported different situations that we've had with this woman over the coarse of 4 years. She has been reported many times. And i have already spoken with the principal on 2 occasions. But I didn't come here for opinions from individuals about how I handled it or even come here to share all of the details of the happenings surrounding the other situations leading up to my call to the board.  I came here to see if there were any legitimate legal savvy individuals that could tell me whether or not I have any legal ground to stand on. It seems I came to the wrong place. Not because I'm not getting the answers I was hoping for but because no one here has actually answered my question with any real information or direction. A mother in California sued a public school for keeping her child from using the restroom in 2014. I don't know if she won or not but clearly it is of concern to other parents. I do know, however, after being forced to hold it so many times she had to have surgery and therapy to relearn how to hold her bowels. A child's abikini to hold their bladder and bowels isn't all about self control ( to the commenter that thinks that is a part of potty training) my 4 year old still has trouble with holding her urine which is a matter of physical development, different for every child. When they say they have to go, you bring them. Immediately.  At this young age it's cruel otherwise. Thank you all for your opinions on the matter but I was seeking more than opinions. I will call a real lawyer today.

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No. You do not have any legal ground to stand on. This is not a legal issue - this is a customer service issue. Bad customer service is not illegal.

 

As you have already been told by a "real lawyer" above.

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1 hour ago, Stuknreality said:

A mother in California sued a public school for keeping her child from using the restroom in 2014

 

Perhaps you're talking about this case?  If so, it has nothing to do with your situation.

 

 

1 hour ago, Stuknreality said:

A child's abikini to hold their bladder and bowels isn't all about self control ( to the commenter that thinks that is a part of potty training) my 4 year old still has trouble with holding her urine which is a matter of physical development, different for every child. When they say they have to go, you bring them. Immediately.  At this young age it's cruel otherwise.

 

For what it's worth, as a parent of children who were this age not too long ago, it sure sounds like your child should be wearing pull-ups/training pants (or whatever you want to call them).

 

 

1 hour ago, Stuknreality said:

Thank you all for your opinions on the matter but I was seeking more than opinions. I will call a real lawyer today.

 

You asked that we "help [you] understand [your] child's rights so [you] can pursue this issue further."  You then asked, "So it's legal to deny a 4 year old access to the bathroom in her own school?"  You got clear and accurate answers to those questions (i.e., no infringement of your child's "rights" occurred, and yes, what happened was legal or not illegal).  By all means seek out an in-person or phone consultation with an attorney (I'm very much a "real lawyer," although no one else who responded here is), but don't expect to be told anything different than you've been told here.  There is no legal issue to pursue.  I can understand that you don't like what happened, but the way to deal with it is by speaking with the principal and other applicable school administrators (and, if you get no satisfaction that way, through the School District).  Treating this like a legal issue almost certainly will be counter-productive and unnecessarily expensive for you (it will also require that the school and district devote resources to legal counsel that would be far better put toward educational purposes).

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Hi @Stuknreality

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! So sorry to hear about the incident with your daughter. From your description, it sounds like that secretary was insensitive to deny your young child use of the bathroom at her own school. As you mentioned, even if technically against the rule that you were to wait outside, perhaps some sort of accommodation (a teacher accompanying your daughter to the restroom, as you mentioned), could have been worked out.

 

It sounds like you have already taken some affirmative steps, such as reaching out to the principal and school board. If you and other parents have experienced some inappropriate behavior from this individual, it's good to hear that you have taken some action to complain to the appropriate authorities. Another option is for you to speak with an attorney about your options. For help finding an attorney in Maryland, you can use the FindLaw lawyer directory.

 

Best of luck and keep us posted!

The FindLaw.com Team

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We can only comment on what you tell us and this situation is not covered by law. Even if your daughter was in class, access to restrooms is often restricted for a wide variety of reasons. If you have ever worked in a school, those reasons are apparent pretty darn quickly. Assuming it was alright to enter earlier than school policy allows to use the restroom or that someone should have dropped what they were working on to take your child to the restroom was not a great plan. You might be a responsible individual who would monitor their child in the bathroom and make sure she didn't get injured (you would be amazed at the number of restroom related injuries) and didn't do anything she was not supposed to do, but policies are generally made to avoid having to make constant judgment calls as to who may and may not be responsible guests. They are also designed to limit liability. If you have a good argument for changing the school's policy, take it up at the next PTA meeting. Focus on the policy. If you try to turn it into a platform to bash a particular employee you do not like, do not expect it to get very far.

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