Patchway Community School in Bristol, England has implemented a rule that students can only go to the toilet during their morning break, lunchtime or at the end of the school day. One mother of a pupil has accused the facility of having “failed” students in regard to safeguarding.
The Sun reported that angered parents are demanding to meet with the headmaster, Dave Howe.
One dad, who has a young daughter at the school, said: “Even in prisons, it’s a human right to be able to use the toilets.”
The new arrangement has also set up five gender-neutral toilets as opposed to facilities separated for male and female students, and each toilet is allocated to a particular year group.
However, students will only be allowed to use the facilities outside of lessons.
A spokesperson from Patchway Community School has said that students have access to toilets throughout the school day and “have more access to toilets than preciously” due to toilets now designated to year groups.
The spokesperson added: “The new measures ensure that toilet areas are safe and clean for all students to use throughout the school day.
“The current arrangements are a trial for the next term and are constantly under review.
“These measures have been taken in response to student and parent requests and have globally been well received.”
Lucy Cox, who has a 14-year-old daughter at the school, said: “The school is depriving children of a basic human right and there are dozens of parents upset at the changes.”
Ms Cox is a law student who also said “it is not possible” for five bathrooms to allocate over 700 students.
She said: “Students have to stand in queues and wait for a member of staff to unlock the doors and that even during the school’s 35-minute lunch break, they have to wait for an attendant to open the facilities.
“I just wish the school was more open with parents. If they are short of staff to oversee children going to the toilet then just tell us.
“But to say that children have to wait until break times is just plainly wrong and we as parents have to call it out.”
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Ms Cox has set up a local Facebook group for parents to complain about the school’s news policy and said: “It’s just snowballed. As soon as parents started to hear about the toilet ban they were appalled.
“I’ve had about 30 messages from parents all saying the same thing – they can’t do this to our children.”
One post from a parent said that their daughter is “stressed out” about the new toilet policy, and wrote: “I have a daughter in Year 9. The issue is a person of her age will need to use the facilities not for just going to the toilet.
“Why should young women be forced to share the loos if they have their period? It’s bad enough they have to explain why they may have to use the toilet in lesson times.
“My child is stressed out and I fail to see why the school are imposing such sanctions. This is disruptive to their learning and therefore unacceptable.
Another concerned parent commented: “My child in Year 7 told me last night that he was desperate for the toilet and he was on bursting point, they told him sorry we are not allowed to give out toilet passes at all in lessons.
“I think this is disgusting a child telling them he urgently needed to go and can’t wait and them not allowing him. This is disgusting and needs sorting out.”