Oregon Elementary School’s Pay-To-Pee Policy Was A Horrible Idea

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89075233Some Oregon parents were outraged when they found out this week that teachers were were essentially “charging” their students to use the restroom. Kids earn “Super Pro” bucks in class, and have to hand them over for bathroom breaks. If kids don’t use potty breaks wisely, they have to “pay” for their breaks with their super bucks. One parent says this policy was responsible for her daughter wetting her pants in the classroom. I’m going to have to agree with her.

The students earn Super Pro bucks for different achievements and can use them to buy trinkets in the school store. Apparently – as evidenced by a child who opted to hold her pee so long she wet her pants – they’ll do anything to hang onto these “bucks.”

Melissa Dalebout says her daughter, Lily, a first-grader, had an accident at school. Lily was trying to hold her urine… “I just feel my children should not be punished for having to use the bathroom, even if they didn’t take advantage of a recess break because they may not have been thinking of it. “They’re children,” says Dalebout.

At Cascades Elementary, teachers employ other payment strategies, as well.  If kids use the bathroom outside the three designated break times, they can lose two minutes of recess.

I’m an adult and even I can’t pee on demand. What if the kids just don’t have to go during recess? I understand some kids could potentially take advantage of this, but shouldn’t a teacher be able to use his or her judgement to figure that out?

Parents Sarah and Brian Palkki say that it’s more punishment than payment in their daughter’s class.

“She was crying one morning, because she felt her tummy to be a little sour,”  says Sarah Palkki, “so she was thinking that she might have to use the restroom at school.”

I don’t want my child to develop strange bathroom habits because teachers have him on a bathroom rewards program. Not okay. I understand rewarding good behavior, but this bathroom break policy does not sit well with me. If my child wet his pants because of this, I would be pissed. I would be equally pissed if my child was upset at the thought she may have to use the bathroom outside of one of the designated break times.

Dr. Bruce Birk is a Portland pediatrician. He says that there’s consensus in the medical community on this issue.

“It would be chaos in a classroom for teachers not to have a system,” says Birk. “Holding in the classroom in between well-established potty breaks has not been shown in any sense of the word to be harmful to kids.”

I disagree. So does the staff at the elementary school. They have since changed their “rewards” policy.

(photo: Getty Images)