Girls have had enough at a school in Yorkshire Dales, England, where they say that they are being denied access to the bathroom outside of specified break times.
The angry teens staged a live-streamed protest inside the girls’ bathroom at Bedale High School to draw attention to a new rule that even parents are upset about. Thirty-five girls and five boys were involved, states the Harrogate Advertiser,
“I really hate to put this on Facebook but I wondered if anyone else is having issues with the High School refusing access to toilets?” wrote an anonymous parent on Facebook, reports The Telegraph. “I have recently complained to the school about their new rule which ONLY allows access to toilets between 11.05am and 11.25am, and 12.25pm and 12.45pm. I believe that this humiliating and undignified and is a breach of human rights to be denied access to toilets at any other time unless you have a medical need, and totally ridiculous to say that you cannot go to the toilet after you have had lunch.”
The parent goes on to state that the headteacher responded to complaints about the issue and stated that the rule would remain in place. The rule was apparently issued to “improve teaching.”
Planned the previous night on social media, thirty-five girls and five boys were involved in the protest, states the Harrogate Advertiser, which eventually moved to the school field, where it continued.
Teachers at the school called the police to handle the protesters, but according to The Telegraph, they stated that it was not a police matter.
“North Yorkshire Police was alerted to a protest involving students at Bedale High School this morning,” said a police spokesman. “PCSOs attended the school grounds and, after making enquiries, advised staff that this was not a police matter.”
Student Caitlin Mclean told the Harrogate Advertiser that the students involved were suspended for a week and might not be allowed to attend prom.
A spokesperson released the following statement on behalf of the school:
Bedale High School has recently introduced a new behavioural code as part of an action plan to improve teaching and learning in the school.
The code includes a range of measures to ensure that students are focused and can get the most out of their lessons and wider school provision.
These measures include students having access to fresh drinking water at all times and being able to take bags into lessons so they have ready access to all the materials they need for learning.
The code also includes tighter rules on uniform and on reducing the numbers of students outside of classrooms during lesson time.
As part of this the school has reminded students that toilets are freely accessible during specific periods at lunchtime and break time but that students who need the toilet during lessons, or need access for medical reasons, will always be given access on request. Toilets are therefore accessible at all times.
Bedale High is a school of 580 students and the vast majority today have participated fully and calmly with their lessons and wider provision.
The school has stated that families and students were fully informed of the new behaviour code before half term and that many have given supportive feedback and view it as a positive step.
Caitlin Mclean disputes the statement’s assertion that toilets are always accessible when requested, stating “The whole reason why we went out is so nothing embarrassing happens to us again. It’s not just me that has been in that situation, it’s been a few of us and we wanted to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”