In school, asking to go to the bathroom can be a tricky scenario. Teachers typically don’t want to let students go if they think that they’re going to somehow cheat on a test or roam the hallways. If students really do have to go, though, they don’t want to deny them the opportunity.
A case regarding schools and bathroom incidents that has been taking place for the past six years has finally been resolved, with the judges from the Mississippi Court of Appeals deciding that a state school district is not responsible for a seventh grader “who wet himself after teachers tried to block him from using the restroom during a test,” Courthouse News reports.
The student, Jonathan Taylor Harris, was in seventh grade when the incident occurred in 2007. His class was taking the Mississippi Curriculum Test at Clinton Junior High school, when he asked to use the restroom. His teachers, Corey Schneider and Kevin Daniels, denied him twice. After the third request, the teachers allowed him to go. The student, however, urinated on himself as he was leaving the classroom.
Harris’s parents, Anthony and Susan Harris, subsequently sued the Clinton Public School District, citing their negligence and their son’s emotional distress. The school district was recently found not to be responsible for the incident.
Presiding Judge T. Kenneth Griffis wrote the deciding opinion, explaining that Schneider and Daniel had right to act in a discretionary manner when responding to Harris’s requests to use the restroom.
“While the district was required to establish a student-testing plan for administration of the MCT, the testing-security procedures of the plan were left to the discretion of the district employees, particularly the assigned test proctor and administrator. While the plan established a protocol for student emergencies that involved restroom requests by the students, neither the plan nor the Mississippi Department of Education automatically required the proctor to allow a student to use the bathroom at a specific time or location,” Griffis wrote.
Griffis elaborated further, explaining that a different decision would have resulted in teachers being afraid to discipline students or deny them permission to the bathroom out of fear of a lawsuit.
“If a different result were reached, school officials, in fear of a lawsuit, would be unable to discipline students and maintain order because they would have to agree to every student’s request and would not be allowed to determine the legitimacy of a student’s request,” Griffis also wrote, according to Silo Breaker.
Despite the difficulties experienced by Griffin, it appears as if the tricky situation of handling bathroom breaks at schools is to remain intact.