Bathroom, please

Lauren Fine, Opinion and Photo Editor

Everyday teachers and faculty put students at risk of bladder explosion; Sounds drastic but let’s admit it, when you have to go, you have to go. Using the bathroom is a human need just like eating and breathing. Can you imagine a teacher telling you, “Jimmy, stop breathing so loudly!” or “Tina, put that food away and stop your stomach from growling too loud!” An authority figure telling you to essentially stop breathing and starve sounds horrible, right? That’s because those kinds of things hardly happen, but I’ll tell you what does. I am sure we can all remember a time when we were sitting in a class, and suddenly you felt like the Pacific Ocean had made its way into your bladder. “May I use the restroom?” you ask, and the teacher responds with “Wait until ___ gets back” or “Wait until after class” or sometimes they will even require you to use a special slip of paper in order to go, limiting the amount of times you are able to use the restroom throughout the semester. Is this a healthy strategy for keeping students in class? Not at all. In fact it is unhealthy.

Holding your bladder for longer than psychically possible can lead to kidney failure, and maybe even a ruined pair of pants and a lifetime of embarrassment in that class.

Teachers and faculty can always make an excuse about how you should not have to go to the restroom because “you just had lunch” or how you just got to class and should have gone during passing period, but hold the phone. Let’s take a minute to dwell on the “you should have gone during lunch scenario.” Lunch starts at 11:57 for students without a tutorial and at 12:28 for students with a tutorial or class they must attend the first half of lunch. Say you get out of your tutorial at 12:28, and make your way to the lunch line. It should take about 6 minutes to get from your class to the cafeteria, and another 10 minutes waiting in line for your actual food. Then you must find a place to actually sit and eat your lunch, which could take another 7 minutes. Subsequently you must eat your lunch, which could take about 15 minutes. That leaves you with 5 minutes, and in those 5 minutes you need you rush to class so you are not marked tardy. You get to 5th period and realize “Crap! I have to pee!” You raise your hand and ask to use the restroom and your teacher gives you that look, which I’m sure they have, and they respond with, “You just had lunch. Wait until after class.” So you spend the entire 50 minute class period trying not to think about the fact you are going to leak any minute and in doing so you miss the entire lesson. In result of you missing the entire lesson, you fail the test, which lowers your GPA, and makes you unqualifiable for college. ALL because your teacher would not let you take a 5 minute bathroom break during the class period.

Don’t even get me started on the teachers that require a slip of paper to use the restroom. Usually the teacher will give you 3-5 of these and throughout the semester you can use them to go to the bathroom or run to your locker for a forgotten item, or you can save the slips and turn them in for extra credit at the end of the semester. Thus leaving the student to think about whether they need to pee, or they need the A.

The entire idea of not letting students go to the bathroom when they need to is deleterious and corrupt. Instead of telling students to “hold it,” the teacher should establish restroom codes with their students in which they must ask before leaving, take a pass with them, and sign a paper of the time they left and the time they returned.

Next time you’re squirming in class and your teacher gives you some vague and unjust reason about how you should hold it, maybe you should point out your rights and or have a discussion about how it feels like you are going to flood their classroom at any given moment.