Mom might sue over ‘pay to potty’ classroom policy

A mother of a Washington state elementary school student is considering legal action after she says a third-grade teacher’s pay-to-potty policy led to her daughter having an accident in class.

The teacher was temporarily removed from Mill Plain Elementary School in Vancouver, Wash.,

after two parents said their children had accidents in class when they didn’t pony up $50 in classroom cash for a bathroom pass. The cash is also used to buy things like popcorn or small toys, according to Syracuse.com.

An investigation into the situation began after KATU reported on May 17 that Jasmine Al-Ayadhi had said her 9-year-old daughter, Reem, had wet her pants in class because she hadn’t paid to go to the bathroom.

“Work for your money, to earn it, to buy like a little toy or a little squirt gun or a little ball,” Al-Ayadhi said. “When it comes to a bathroom issue, when a child has to pay money to use the bathroom – that’s wrong. It’s inhumane. That’s a health issue.”

At least one other parent made a similar claim following the initial report, but Evergreen School District spokeswoman Gail Spolar said “pay to potty” isn’t a school policy.

“We’re never going to prevent a child who is in an emergency situation from going to the bathroom,” she told KATU.

The district announced last week that it had concluded the investigation after the two complaints were filed, and that the teacher would not be disciplined. The school claims the second child involved had returned to class after using the bathroom, announced that she had urinated on herself and laughed about it.

Fox News reported on Friday that the child’s mother, Merchon Ortega, will be taking legal action. Ortega says her daughter was “mortified” by the experience.

“I didn’t let her go to school the rest of the week because she was scared to go to school,” Ortega said. “She’s scared to be made fun of.”

Ortega also told Fox her daughter was pulled into the principal’s office without a parent being notified, which is against the law.

“My next step is hopefully trying to take legal action,” Ortega said. “(My daughter) has got to go to counseling because it’s really messed with her emotions.”

Contact Stephanie Grimes at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes

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