At EPHS, urine trouble if you go too often
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org October 16, 2011 9:22PM
Dominique Gigliello (fromt left), her mother Linda, and Cathi Diamond are concerned with Evergreen Park High's policy of limiting students to three bathroom passes per semester. Additional visits require time to be made up after school. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 18, 2011 8:32AM
If some Evergreen Park High School students need to use the washroom, they’d better have big bladders or they’ll stay after school.
A policy in place for some classes — it’s up to each teacher — limits students to three washroom visits during class per semester without penalty. After that limit, they have to stay after school and make up any class time missed when answering the call of nature.
Principal Bill Sanderson said the policy ensures that students won’t miss valuable class time and also prevents some from using a washroom visit as an excuse to skip class for a bit.
Two mothers, Linda Gigliello and Cathi Diamond, are worried about the well-being of their daughters, who may find themselves “holding it” to avoid the extra class time.
“It’s not only that they have to make up the time. It takes up time after school when they may be in a club or have a team practice or catch a bus,” Gigliello said.
She said her freshman daughter, Dominique, 15, has had urinary tract infections and may be prone to more if forced to delay urinating.
Diamond said her 15-year-old daughter, Emily, a sophomore, would miss time in her drama club if she had to make up for a bathroom break.
“There’s no trust of the parents. There’s no trust between teachers and students. There’s no trust the teacher will know when a student genuinely needs to go or when they use the washroom as an excuse to get out of class,” Diamond said.
She said there will be kids “who try to get out of class, but that’s a small group of kids.”
Evergreen Park High is on a block schedule, with each school day having four classes that meet for 83 minutes, Sanderson said. During classes, the only washrooms that are open are near the main office on the first floor because of security, he said.
Students are never told they can’t use a washroom and can do so as often as they need to, provided they realize that the extra visits will have them staying later, Sanderson said. Some teachers have asked “how do we stop kids from going to the bathroom to get out of class, how do we make them accountable?” he said.
All washrooms are open between classes, Sanderson said, and those near the lunchroom are open when lunch is served.
Dominique said that with five minutes between classes, students don’t have the time to visit the bathroom.
A urologist said that if students do skip using the bathroom to avoid staying after school, it shouldn’t cause any health problem. But Dr. David Zumerchik, of Southwest Urology Associates, 8760 Kedzie Ave., Evergreen Park, said it’s “tough to have a kid hold it if there’s an underlying urinary problem.”
He said it’s unlikely for someone with a history of urinary tract infections to be prone to more infections if they frequently have to delay urinating.
While he called the Evergreen Park High policy “silly,” he does understand it is designed to allow students to recover class time they may miss.
Zumerchik’s advice for students who feel the need to use the bathroom is to do so and pay the consequences.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to go to the bathroom,” he said.