Third-grader Reem Al-Ayadhi was down to her last $50 in play money and said she had a big choice to make: Use it to pay for popcorn like her friends were doing, or pay for a potty break at her elementary school.
Al-Ayadhi chose popcorn.
Classmate Lilliana Ortega faced a similar dilemma, and like Al-Ayadhi she said she didn't want to fork over her hard-earned $50 for a potty pass.
The result? Both girls wet themselves and were sent home in spare dry clothes, according to KATU-TV in Portland.
According to Ortega and Al-Ayadhi, $50 in play money is the going rate for earning a trip the restroom from their class at Mill Plain Elementary in Vancouver, Washington. As you might imagine, their parents are outraged.
"I'm so angry!"Jasmine Al-Ayadhi told KATU. "When it comes to the bathroom, that's a health issue."
Lilliana's mom, Merchon, agreed. "What kid is going to spend money to go to the bathroom?" she asked KATU. "No child should have to pay to use the restroom. Are you kidding me? That's absolutely insane."
For Lilliana, it was pure humiliation.
"It makes me feel kind of horrible in somebody else's pants and undies and I just wanted to stay in my clothes," she told KATU.
Both mothers complained, and the class' afternoon teacher — a female in her first year at Mill Plain — is gone pending the outcome of an Evergreen Public Schools investigation. A substitute teacher has taken her place; the morning teacher, also a female, remained.
Citing privacy laws, district spokeswoman Gail Spolar told KATU-TV she couldn't name the teacher under investigation, how long she would be gone, or if she was suspended or on leave.
As to the prevalence of the alleged "pay to potty" procedure, Spolar said it's not district policy and that teachers decide how students are tracked when leaving the classroom — including going to the restroom. Spolar added that some teachers use passes or sign-out sheets — and in this case the teacher in question had students earn their own play money and "that's how they check out for the restroom," she told KATU-TV.
"We're never going to prevent a child who is in an emergency situation from going to the bathroom," Spolar added. "We don't want the children to have accidents. We don't want the children to have health and safety issues and so that's part of that investigation is how the procedure is being done."
The school principal and the district superintendent would be "talking to all parties involved," Spolar noted, which includes the students and the teacher.
[sharequote align="center"]“We don’t want the children to have accidents."[/sharequote]
"Elementary school children may have accidents," Spolar noted to KATU-TV. "That's why we have an entire clothes closet. If a child has an accident they come to the office (and) explain that they've had an accident. They are able to choose from a wide array of clothes and they choose what they would like to put on. We'll ask them if they want their parents to be notified."
Seems that was a "no" where it concerned the mothers of Al-Ayadhi and Ortega, both of whom said they found out about the accidents and the alleged policy when their daughters came home in different clothes.
They both want the alleged "pay to potty" policy immediately stopped and the teacher punished. Ortega went so far as to pull her daughter out of school on Monday and is pondering the option of keeping her out until the matter is resolved.
"This is not going to happen to my child," Ortega told KATU.
(H/T: The Daily Caller)