tp2009's picture

Kindergartener bullied/abused over bathroom use

I am in the process of writing a letter to the School Board regarding my daughter being abused by her Teacher. I plan to write a letter of complaint with all of the incidents included to let the school know how cruel this Teacher is and how the Principal didn't protect my daughter when she needed it most. I apologize for the long message. I am posting here so that maybe I can get some advice on what steps to take next. Any advice on handling the situation would be helpful.

I asked to address the Board at the meeting last month but was told that it was too late to be placed on the agenda. I spoke with the Superintendent and he said that he would give my information to the School Board. I don't know if I can trust the Superintendent to present my case fairly since the school is not telling him the truth about what happened. The next meeting is not until January.

I now know that this Teacher has a long history of abusing her students and the Principal has always protected her. The Assistant told a mom last year (whose child was abused) that the Teacher singles out one child every year and nothing is ever done to stop her. The Principal still protects her even after I told her about my daughter being abused. The Principal is very sarcastic and always blames the child victims instead of the abusive Teacher. They both need to be fired but probably won't be.

My daughter is in Kindergarten and has been verbally and emotionally abused over her right to use the bathroom. She has had to endure physical pain from having to "hold it" She was threatened with punishment and then actually punished over using the bathroom. She was also denied use of the bathroom at times, despite the Teacher knowing of her problem with constipation and that she was on a prescription laxative. My daughter also developed excessive urinary frequency from all of the stress that she was under at school.

My daughter started being afraid to go to school. She would cry and beg me to stay with her. She developed stomachahes, nausea, vomiting and anxiety before school and when at school. She was fine everywhere except at school.I didn't know why she was so terrified until she started telling me of the incidents that had occurred. I went and observed in her class and saw how the Teacher treated the children. The classroom is like a Military School. She is very sarcastic and overly strict to the children. After knowing all of this, I realized that my daughter was being bullied by her Teacher.

Here are some of the incidents that took place. I only listed some of them due to space limitations. Almost all of the incidents occurred in the cafeteria, which has no bathroom policy, except one made up by a sadistic Teacher. My daughter would go for 6 hours a day not eating or drinking because she was afraid she would be either denied using the bathroom or punished for asking to go since punishment was repeatedly threatened. The punishment was a bad behavior note sent home to parents (which I told my daughter not to worry about) and loss of recess time, just for going to the bathroom.

1.My daughter was in the cafeteria and needed to use the restroom. She asked her teacher if she could go. She was told No! She couldn't hold it, so she asked again and was told No, again. Her teacher told her that “She was pushing her buttons” and threatened her with punishment of getting a ½ day bad behavior note and loss of recess time if she asked again. My daughter didn’t want to get in trouble and be punished. She tried to hold it but couldn't, so she wet her pants.

2.The next day in the cafeteria my daughter asked her teacher if she could go to the bathroom. Her teacher told her No. My daughter then told her teacher, that she couldn‘t hold it and that “Last time you told me no, I wet my pants!” Finally, she allowed her to go.

3.My daughter was also told that she would get a bad note for asking to have a wipe to clean herself. (which her teacher had started doing the day before) It was a moment of silence which my daughter didn’t know about since she was in the class bathroom at the time. Her teacher threatened her with being written up for not being quiet at that time. My daughter became upset because she didn’t want to get in trouble. She started crying. Her teacher looked over the door and told her “to pull her pants up and stop crying or she (the teacher) would take her to the vice-principal.

Then later on when my daughter was still upset, her teacher pulled her aside and whispered to her that if she didn’t tell anyone and was good for the rest of the day, she would give her a whole day good behavior note instead of a half-day bad behavior note.

(Threatening bad notes then later changing them to all day good notes was a repeated way that the teacher would hang the bad notes, which also meant loss of recess time, over my daughter's head and then change them after my daughter would cry or become upset. I mentioned this incident to her teacher and about her telling my daughter that she would get a ½ day note bad behavior note instead of a whole day good behavior note for asking for a wipe. Her teacher sarcastically said, “I don’t think she got a ½ day note that day.” She didn’t even apologize to my child for being this cruel to her.

5.One day, my daughter was in the classroom and needed to go the bathroom.The Teacher told my daughter, "You need to stop going so much! You don't have a bladder infection. I didn't go that much when I had a bladder infection." My daughter was denied using the bathroom and started crying.

(The teacher knew that I had taken my daughter to the doctor and had ruled out any physical problems. Her problems were due to the stress at school.)

Later that day, she was allowed to go but the Teacher's assistant followed my daughter in the classroom bathroom 11 times in a row. She then would write my daughter's name on the clipboard that was used for bad notes. They would record every time she went and how many times she actually used it, which was none. When I picked my daughter up that day, she was very upset. She told me, “The teacher's assistant kept following me in the bathroom. I didn’t like that one bit! I couldn't use the bathroom with her watching me! Then they would write my name down and how many times I used it."

I had repeatedly told her Teacher to leave her alone and let her use the bathroom when needed without any interference. The more they harassed her over the bathroom, the more she would have to go. They didn't honor my request to leave her alone.

6.My daughter wet her pants several times after the first incident had occurred. One time, she was afraid to ask since the class was told that they would be punished for asking. The other time was because again, she was denied using the bathroom. She hasn't wet her pants since she was 2 years old.

7.The Teacher said that she told the class that they couldn’t go to the bathroom in the cafeteia unless it was an emergency. My daughter told the Teacher that her stomach was cramping and that she felt like she needed to use the bathroom. The Teacher went to the bathroom with my daughter and waited outside the door. My daughter came out and told the Teacher that she couldn’t use it. She told the Teacher that it was gas and that sometimes she couldn’t tell the difference between having gas and really using the bathroom.

The Teacher said that she asked my daughter, “You can’t tell the difference between passing gas and really needing to use the bathroom? I need to eat my lunch. I have 23 kids and I can’t come to the bathroom for a child just to pass gas.”
She then told my daughter that she broke a class rule and gave her time out at recess and sent home a bad behavior note.

I explained to the Teacher AGAIN that my daughter had constipation, that she was on a laxative and that she had repeatedly told me that she would work with my daughter and let her go to the bathroom when needed. I also explained to her the laxative and/or the constipation can give you gas pain/stomach cramping but that you may note be able to actually use the bathroom at that time.
The teacher became very sarcastic (like always) and said, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have punished her. I don’t feel like I can please you. I’m sorry. Is an apology not enough? I then told the Teacher that using the bathroom is a privilege, not a right and that my daughter shouldn’t be punished for going to the bathroom. I also told the Teacher that she punished my daughter for the actual medical problem (constipation)that she had repeatedly told me she would work with her on.

The Teacher replied, again in a sarcastic tone of voice, “Well, fine. I will tell all of the other children that she can use the bathroom whenever she wants. I will tell the children that she can go when she wants and that they can’t." She was already supposed to be letting my daughter use the bathroom when she needed to. I didn’t believe her this time since I had been battling with them for months to stop harassing my daughter over the bathroom. I knew that would be the last time that anyone would interfere with my child’s RIGHT to use the bathroom.

My daughter was finally moved after this last incident. She should have been moved when I first requested, but the Principal denied my request and left her in the abusive environment for another month. The Princial wanted to move my daughter to First Grade instead of another Kindergarten class since she scored high enough on the MAP test to be moved. I think that she wanted to skip her a grade to make it look like she did her a favor, but I objected. How can I trust the Principal to NOW care about my daughter's academic needs when she hasn't cared about her physical and emotional needs, which have to be met first? The only thing that the brightest child in Kindergarten has learned is that her Teacher was cruel to her. No child should have to learn this lesson!

SnglDad's picture

A basic human right is being able to use the restroom when needed. It sounds as if your daughter has a medical condition which may cause her to need to use the restroom at times that may not be considered convenient by her teacher. I would first empower your daughter to tell the teacher when she is going to use the restroom. This means that she is not asking permission, but as a courtesy, she is telling the teacher that she will be in the restroom. The doctor who prescribed the laxative should be consulted and asked to write a letter stating that your daughter has a medical condition which causes her to use the restroom, and on medication which may impact her ability to wait for a more convenient time. I would send copies of this note to the teacher, principal, and school board. I would also look up local laws concerning compulsory restroom use based on medical conditions. Let them know that you will not play their game, and that you have no problem taking the next step.

2xstepmom's picture

Did what SnglDad is suggesting you do when my daughter was suffering from IBS. The specialist wrote a letter to the school with copies to all involved. One teacher stated my daughter was using her condition as an excuse to get out of class so we had to go to the school board, which solved the issue. Best of luck.

acitez's picture

It's a lot to expect of a five year old to be assertive. I would suggest you go in at the beginning of the school day for three or four days in a row and tell the teacher that when your daughter needs to go to the bathroom, she will leave the room.

I am tutoring a girl (age 10) who has encopresis which probably started because of being inappropriatedly constrained from using the bathroom and being embarrassed by the teacher. This girl occasionally goes 4 days without a BM, which compromises her health.

What would I do? I'd remove her from kindergarten. I'd be tentative about sending her to conventional school for first grade. This can get generalized, like it did with this girl I tutor.

Only2boys's picture

I would pull my daughter from this classroom and ask her to be moved to another classroom or move her to another school... even if I had to move. Can you homeschool her or send her to a private school?

Get a note from your dr. as well stating that your child has a medical necessity for being able to use the bathroom during all parts of the day. Date the letter if it isn't dated and have a copy given to the child's teachers, the principal, the school nurse and a copy to be put in her school file.

If worse comes to worse, I'd present my case to the school board... get it on the agenda ahead of time, or even have my lawyer present the case... whichever you can afford or would feel more comfortable with. Make sure you have everything documented that you can... dates, times, places, names of people who saw things happen, etc.

I'd try to not talk about it too much around my daughter at home and keep as calm as you can, because I'm sure your daughter is also feeling your frustration as well as dealing with the issues of using the bathroom herself. I just would reassure her that you are handling the problem and will get things better for her real soon.

I personally would want my daughter out of that class as soon as I could get her out.

Good luck.