An outraged mother who said her 9-year-old daughter suffered emotional trauma after urinating on herself when she chose not to use play money for a trip to the bathroom is looking at legal action against a Washington state elementary school and district.
Merchon Ortega told Fox News her third-grade daughter is in counseling because the incident "really messed with her emotions."
The issue stems from a reported system in one classroom at Mill Plain Elementary in Vancouver, Washington, in which students earn play money and exchange it for treats or bathroom passes.
"She chose not to pay to use the restroom and she had to go so bad," Merchon told Fox News. "She said it hurt so bad that she just couldn't hold it anymore. She urinated on herself." TheBlaze reported that a classmate of Ortega's daughter also wet herself.
[sharequote align="center"]“She’s scared to be made fun of.”[/sharequote]
The Evergreen Public Schools District stated that students were "never denied bathroom breaks if they needed one, regardless if they had sufficient 'dollars' in their account — this was a decision made to use an already implemented money management learning system rather than introduce another method of dispensing discretionary passes." The school said more frequent bathroom breaks were becoming a distraction.
A school investigation allegedly noted Ortega's daughter returned to her classroom after using the bathroom and laughed as she said she urinated on herself, Fox News reported, adding that the school asked the girl for an apology. Ortega denied the school's claim, saying her daughter has been negatively affected.
"I didn't let her go to school the rest of the week because she was scared to go to school," Ortega told Fox News. "She's scared to be made fun of."
In addition, Ortega told Fox News, her daughter was summoned to the principal's office when she returned to school, without a parent present or previous notification. Ortega said she had the school switch her daughter to a different classroom.
The school conducted two investigations related to the issue and did not discipline the teacher in question after one probe, according to the Columbian. The second investigation was ongoing, the newspaper added. It's not clear if the investigation in which the teacher was cleared involved Ortega's daughter or her classmate, whose mother, Jasmine Al-Ayadhi, also filed a complaint, TheBlaze reported.
Evergreen Education Association President Gloria M. Smith added that the teacher had not been placed on leave, the Columbian reported; the district's spokeswoman said the teacher was out of class only one day following the incidents and returned for the remainder of the week.
Jasmine Al-Ayadhi told the Columbian that her daughter, who also wet her clothes, "was being teased" and boys "were making fun of her."
Al-Ayadhi added that she isn't returning her daughter to the school and will homeschool her instead.
“How can you return a child to a school where she’s being humiliated and degraded?” Al-Ayadhi asked the paper.