Parents outraged by school bathroom policy at Lamar High school

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DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – A simple request to go to the bathroom at Lamar High school can bring consequences, such as after school detention, in school suspension or even a $25 fine.

“Children should have the right to use the restroom. It’s a simple normal function of being a human being,” said parent, Anthony Gale.

With four children at Lamar High school, Gale knows first hand what happens to students when exceeding the bathroom policy.

“They’re only allowed to use the restroom four times in a nine week period,” said Gale.

The policy is shown in the school planner, it states that after using more than four passes a quarter, students will receive a punishment.

“After school suspension, ISS (in school suspension) , out of school suspension, and parents have to pay. I owe $25 to the school right now because my granddaughter just had a full day of ISS because of the bathroom pass,” said parent, Karen Konopasek.

As for Gale’s daughter, she received a detention slip.

“This is not just a singular problem, it’s an epidemic and it needs to be stopped. Somebody needs to be active and somebody needs to say something to stop the madness,” said Gale.

The school district released a statement that reads:

Lamar High School is an exemplary school with a long history of academic excellence. Their emphasis on student instruction is evident in their most recent report card rating of excellent from the SC Department of Education.

The bathroom/hall pass policy, which has been in place for almost 20 years, is designed to help students stay in the classroom and reduce distractions from people coming and going during instructional time. As such, students are encouraged to use the bathroom before school, after school, during lunch, and during class changes. Class changes are 5 minutes from bell to bell, and the school itself is a single-story, small school.

Sometimes students need to leave class for other reasons, or they need to go to the bathroom during class time. To address this need, students are given four passes each quarter to use when they need to go to their locker, go to the office to call their parents, or use the bathroom during class time. If students use up their four passes, they can still leave class but must attend afterschool detention.

If a student has a note from their doctor indicating they need other accommodations, they can be exempted from the policy.

Lamar High School strives to provide students with an exceptional education while building responsible adults. The hall/bathroom pass practice helps to foster responsibility and time-management skills while protecting classroom time and still ensuring the well-being of our students.

“There’s cameras all over the place, there’s different administrators walking through the buildings, there’s police on the premises, so I don’t think that the excuse that there’s a lot of problem is really the actual heart of the issue,” said Gale.

School officials and parents plan to have a meeting at Lamar High school at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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