Sunday, January 22, 2012

Did you see this story this week? About the 5th grade teacher who limited each student to only 3 bathroom passes a week? Obviously, the students got other chances to go to the bathroom during the school day, but they're not allowed to leave class more than 3 times a week.

Maybe on the surface, it doesn't seem unreasonable. The students can go at lunch and probably at recess time. And I'm sure it is disruptive to have students asking to go in the middle of history discussion. But all I can think about is the girls. The poor, early blooming girls.

I was 10 in 5th grade. A lot of girls turned 11 during that school year. And some girls at that age have already started their periods. Way back in 1950, my mom started hers at the ripe old age of 9. (Sadly, no one had thought it necessary to yet have "the talk" with her, so poor thing thought she was dying.) It's far more common now, of course, for girls to hit puberty at such an early age. So all I can think about is how awful it must be to be in a classroom like this as one of those girls. Being 10 and having your period has to be hard enough without having a teacher who won't let you leave the classroom when you need to go. No school girl needs to have an accident because she's not allowed to go to the bathroom when she really needs to. Sometimes when you're young and new to this whole menstruation thing, you don't realize you're about to have a problem until you are really on the verge of a problem.

Happily, the school principal is apparently going to end the bathroom restriction. So I can stop worrying about those poor girls having really unfortunate, embarrassing classroom incidents. And if you're thinking I'm taking this issue a little too personally, well, I wouldn't know anything about that...

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