When we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up. While a lot of us probably regret those wishes with tax time approaching, it is pretty wild how many freedoms adults take for granted because, for kids, they are so hard-won. Like, if you there reading this wanted to eat an entire mixing bowl full of Lucky Charms, there's no one to stop you. Your doctor might advise against it, but they're not the boss of you!
And if you feel nature call, you don't have to raise your hand and ask your boss for the pass to the restroom. You can just get up and hit the head whenever you have to, right? But that's a freedom it makes no sense to celebrate... because we shouldn't have had to fight for it in the first place. Yet just about everyone has a story of a time they needed to use a bathroom and a teacher told them "no."
I don't have kids, so I'm not sure if teachers are still doing this, but I don't know anyone who didn't experience this authoritarian slight growing up. I really hope students are not still fighting for the fundamental right to go potty, because it's inhumane.
Still, the viral tweet above clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people who grew up in the U.S. public education system. It has nearly 100K retweets and over 1,000 comments.
Look, I sympathize with teachers trying to keep order in the classroom, but I can't think of many things more tortuous than having an urgent need for the bathroom and nowhere to relieve myself — whether it's number 1 or number 2.
Not to mention, there are real medical issues that can limit a person's ability to just "hold it" until the next recess or passing period. As highlighted above, irritable bowel syndrome and certain bladder disorders can make it very irrelevant whether it's convenient for your teacher if you get up in the middle of a lesson.
That's not the only reason this kind of restriction is cruel. It could also lead to embarrassment. After all, there are several reasons why one might need to make an unscheduled bathroom visit. Students facing an embarrassing bodily function either have to announce to a class full of peers why they can't wait until the next break, or else experience horror stories like these:
Both of these scenarios could have been avoided had the teachers just acknowledged that sometimes the body does not give a rip about your schedule. This poor soul shouldn't feel ashamed, that teacher should for making an 8-year-old soil herself. And I'm guessing that second teacher never again denied a bathroom pass to a teenage girl. What a power move.
We've all heard the typical responses from teachers, like, "you should have gone between classes." But anyone who has gone to school in a large campus with a 5-minute passing period where everyone who was holding it for the last hour is also trying to get their break in, knows this isn't always feasible.
Even if you are blessed to find a bathroom without a line, the periods in between classes or recess for younger students may not always be enough time for everybody to get relief. "In high school I think we had 4 minutes to get to our lockers and to class after the bell rang," tweeted another user. "If someone is covering the toilet seat and washing their hands properly it takes like 4-5 minutes to use the bathroom to just pee. Schools suck."
Some teachers limit bathroom breaks to limit disruptions, but as this next story proves, that can backfire.
The worst part is that now those other two kids are probably going to get violently ill and perhaps will need to miss school. This could have started a stomach flu epidemic! Even if no one else got sick, they're pretty much never going to be able to crack those textbooks again. Good thing that teacher prevented this student from being disruptive with her unscheduled bathroom break, huh?
Visits to the school nurse are another request many people recall having denied, even when their lives were at stake. And when they got there, there was no guaranteeing the nurse would have good bedside manner...
Yikes. An asthma attack can be lethal if you withhold medication. You would think a nurse who went to nursing school would know this. The thread was full of stories like this where kids with real medical needs were denied attention by teachers and school nurses alike.
And look, I'm not saying there aren't kids who do ask to visit the nurse or bathroom just to get out of class. I was definitely guilty of it a few times. But I also can say as an adult that 9 times out of 10, those were mental health breaks I needed just as much as if I really had a full bladder.
Thankfully, it seems at least some teachers these days understand nature's call is one you can't always ignore. And where teachers fail to see students as humans with biological needs instead of manipulative jerks always trying to pull a fast one, there are thankfully parents teaching their kids to stand up for their rights.
Hell hath no fury like a mom when someone is messing with her baby.
As lots of people on the thread pointed out, kids become so conditioned to ask for permission to use the bathroom that adult life can be jarring. Countless people commented on bosses and college professors rolling their eyes at the idea of one asking permission to use the facilities. But who can blame us? We have PTSD!