A teacher in Vancouver, Washington, has been removed from her classroom after it was discovered that she forced students to use play money to use the bathroom, forcing one young girl to wet her pants when she didn’t have enough money to go.
The teacher required third grade students at Mill Plain Elementary to earn money that they could use for treats like popcorn or small toys, KIRO-TV reported. But the teacher also made students use this money as a bathroom pass, forcing them to remain in the classroom if they didn’t have enough.
The pay for potty policy caused a stir last week when one of the students, 9-year-old Reem Al-Ayadhi, wet her pants when she didn’t have the $50 required to go to the bathroom.
Reem said she decided to buy popcorn with her money, like her friends were doing, but when it came time to use the bathroom she didn’t have any money left and wasn’t allowed to go.
Her mother Jasmine was furious over the policy.
“When it comes to using the bathroom, having to hold her pee, and if she wants to use the bathroom, you make a choice,” Al-Ayadhi said. “OK, if you want to use the bathroom it’s going to cost you $50, but then you don’t have money to buy popcorn. What do you think a child’s going to do?”
Jasmine added that she was never told about the accident, but instead learned when Reem came home wearing different pants, a pair of boys basketball shorts. Jasmine said other students made fun of Reem for her accident and for wearing boy’s clothes.
At the time, the school district appeared to brush off the pay for potty incident.
According to district spokeswoman Gail Spolar, “Elementary school children may have accidents. That’s why we have an entire clothes closet. If a child has an accident they come to the office (and) explain that they’ve had an accident.”
But now the district has made an about-face, deciding to suspend the pay for potty teacher while the incident is being investigated.
“We’re never going to prevent a child who is in an emergency situation from going to the bathroom,” Spolar told KATU.com report. “We don’t want the children to have accidents. We don’t want the children to have health and safety issues and so that’s part of that investigation is how the procedure is being done.”
The pay for potty teacher has been replaced with a substitute while the school’s investigation is taking place. The district has not released the name of the teacher.