OPINION: Teachers shoud be more lenient with bathroom passes to protect students’ health

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The moment the bell rings, students are given exactly six minutes to pack up, gather their things and make it to their next class. During this passing period, they are also expected to take care of anything else they need, like go to their locker, get water or use the bathroom.

With nearly 2,000 students and limited bathrooms, lines can become extremely long. The restrooms get crowded, causing a tedious wait that may surpass the six-minute time frame.

Some teachers limit bathroom passes and even give extra credit if a student doesn’t use them for the entire year. Although this is beneficial for those who rarely go throughout the school day, it can make high-achieving students feel like they are digging into their grade if they choose to do something as necessary as using the bathroom during class because the line was too long during the passing period.

Holding in urine can lead to serious health problems for the bladder. According to an article by Jon Johnson from Medicalnews.com, if urine is held in for too long, bladder muscles can become weak, leading to urinary incontinence, which means one has lost control over when they can pee. Continuously holding in urine can also cause urinary tract infections from the buildup of bacteria in the bladder. This can increase the risk of kidney infections, or, in rare cases, cause the bladder to burst, which can be fatal.

Though every student should have the privilege to use the bathroom whenever they need to, it is especially necessary for girls when they are menstruating. Girls cannot control their period, so they should not have limited access to the bathroom when they need it. Periods also result in longer trips to the bathroom and lines in the girls bathroom to be lengthy.

Some students, however, may abuse the policy if teachers allowed students to leave whenever they want. They may leave saying that they are going to use the bathroom but instead just want to get out of class. Teachers who have a limited number of bathroom passes use this system with the intention of preventing students from doing this, but they are unaware that it impacts those who actually use the bathroom.

Teachers should have an unlimited number of bathroom passes to prevent health issues and accommodate those who actually need to use the bathroom. They should develop a better system to hold those accountable who abuse the unlimited policy that does not impact all students.

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