Bathroom passes don’t prevent problems; they create more


Every single year, I have always had a sheet of four or so slips of paper labeled ‘bathroom pass,’ and I treat them like gold. Now, doesn’t that seem funny—valuing pieces of paper that allow me to go relieve myself during class. 

Ever since I’ve gotten to middle school, going to the bathroom has been treated as a privilege and not a commodity, just like being in the classroom the second the bell rings. 

I understand the reason why things have turned out like this, and the fix was intended to solve the problems of horseplay in the bathrooms. There’s no supervision, and there should never be. But, for some reason, some students take advantage of that and screw around. 

Yes, I do have my fair share of time in the bathroom. I may be talking with friends, shooting a text to my mother about forgetting my water bottle, or even just taking a breather because math is getting way too overwhelming. 

The bathrooms are a safe space for any gender, no matter the person. For the most part, people do respect these unspoken rules. However, there comes a point when students use their passes to pace around the school to avoid class or take a break. In a perfect world, this has no consequence. But, alas, there will always be someone or a few someones skating around and causing trouble in the halls. 

This has directly caused the ‘privilege’ to be revoked. Some teachers will go out of their way to keep students in the class, claiming that they will only cause trouble or mess around unwatched. 

So, passes printed on paper with official signatures and special paper are passed out. 

In my experience, most of these passes have extra credit points available if I don’t use them at all during the semester. 

Did you catch what I’m trying to infer?

Teachers would rather you hold it in and risk the potential of health problems and get a few points for a grade that can be changed or made up later rather than taking five minutes to leave the class, do what you have to do, and come back. 

Since when was having bodily functions denied for anyone ever allowed? Never, actually, as even in strict scenarios like state testing, work, or even prison, there is time to be human and relieve themselves. 

Students are prone to stray and avoid rule-following, but that doesn’t make us any less of a human being than others not in school.

Want to know where one potentially and realistically can’t? At school. 

It’s ridiculous to think that of all places I’m denied of changing my tampon, it is at school, which is where I learned what a tampon is. 

Bathroom passes are a concept out of this world, save for the most out-of-this-world punishment. 

Students are prone to stray and avoid rule-following, but that doesn’t make us any less of a human being than others not in school. Having passes teaches students that having basic needs can be stripped away and cause them to suffer for mistakes they have not made. 

I can’t tell adults to supervise us every second that we are in the halls during class, but I won’t ever respect being told I can’t use the bathroom for the reasoning of, ‘You are just going out to horseplay’. 

One solution would be to keep a timesheet instead. Take the average time it takes and compare it to the times of every student at the end of the day. Those who are gone for an appropriate amount of time can freely walk up to the sheet, make eye contact with the teacher and approve leaving without question and come back, jumping right back into the task at hand. Those who can’t keep to this time are subjected to a certain amount of times before points can be taken away from assignments or grades. These marks or points can be taken openly or anonymously. 

This tells a student who’s taking advantage of the bathroom time that missing a few minutes in class can directly affect a grade. Here then, students who take ten to fifteen minutes can be questioned as to what they were doing at some point later on. That, or if the proper explanation is given, then a mark won’t be given. 

Sure, it’s not a perfect, flawless plan, but at least now those who behave and care don’t have to suffer for a select few’s bad decision-making skills in the long run.