March 3, 2006

National news: student pees in wastebasket!

Is this news? Well, if it is, can we give this poor teacher a little support? She made a judgment call that the student was trying to goof off, he behaved like a jerk, and now she must lose 10 days' pay? Disgusting!

IN THE COMMENTS: My readers and I seem to be on different sides on this one.


Anonymous said...

For those that don't need the steamy streaming action (or work doesn't allow video)


CLEARWATER — A teacher who did not allow a student to use the restroom was recommended for suspension after the student urinated in a trash can in a classroom closet, officials said.

Lesley Campbell, 64, violated the school district's policy prohibiting a teacher from "exposing a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement," district officials said.


"Certainly the student did some things that were highly inappropriate, but my focus is on the behavior of the employees and then, separately, on the students," Wilcox said.

Campbell said when she told the high school junior in November he could not use the restroom, he suggested urinating in the can.

"Surely, I never thought he would use the trash can," Campbell said. "It was astonishing. By the time he had grabbed the can and headed for the closet, I didn't feel comfortable approaching him...."

Does the video describe more about what the student actually did?

Ann Althouse said...

Let's help the teacher!

Ann Althouse said...

Look at how she's groveling. She's devoted her life to public service, she's demanding that students focus on class and not opt out for fake bathroom breaks, and they slam her! She's groveling because she needs the money! It's horrible. Teachers should be paid more, and here they are disciplining her by taking away the little they do pay her. And what is the lesson the students are learning?

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

At least he did it in private. I think the teacher was wrong and I'm glad she has been disciplined.

I was once prohibited from leaving class for private reasons. I was a rather "mature" 6th grader who had started my period. My teacher wouldn't let me leave because she said I could "hold it." I was too embarrassed to admit that the real reason was something other than a need to pee. Today, nearly 50 years later, having to get up in front of my class with the back of my skirt soaked in blood is the single most embarrassing event of my life.

A teacher has no right to make such a judgment ... what if the kid had wet his pants. Would he ever live it down?

Gil said...

I agree with Squiggler. The teacher was wrong and should be punished.

Children are people. Their dignity should be respected.

The teacher had no idea how urgent an issue it was for the student, and should learn not to abuse her power.

If she does, she'll be a rare exception.

Jennifer said...

In cases like this, there are so many variables that we just aren't privy to. (pun intended)

Is the student a regular goofball or a generally respectful individual?

Is the teacher a bitter, paranoid burnout who sees evil in all her students or properly dealing with a disruption?

Is the principal a weenie or siding with a student who has a good record over a teacher who's a magnet for complaints?

Jacob said...

I also agree with Squiggler.

This is another case of an authority figure's power-tripping. Only this time someone called her on it. There's absolutely no excuse to deny children the right to go to the washroom. If she thought he was abusing the privledge there was a procedure in place to have him escourted to and from the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Apparently there was a policy in place stating that students have the right to go to the bathroom.

Apparently there was a mechanism in place enabling the school to monitor the student's movements from class to restroom and back.

The teacher acknowledged the student was NOT a discipline problem, but stated he was a character.

=> Teacher had it coming.


Ann, I thought you were a member of the daddy party, not the mommy party. Why are you asking us to support a scofflaw? Sounds like moral relativism to me, I wonder what has made you sound so mushy pinko brained this evening?

Maxine Weiss said...

Teachers trying to control students' bladders.

I don't feel sorry for a knucklehead tenured teacher who gets a lifetime pension.

Parents: Another reason to homeschool your kids!

And right about now, I feel the need for some Jim Morrison and The Doors, you know the song.....

Peace, Maxine

Gahrie said...

I doubt many , if any, of the commentators here are teachers. I have students who ask me 3 or 4 times a week to use the restroom, so they can wander the hallways for ten minutes. Most students get a passing period every 50 minutes or so. A high school senior should be perfectly capable of "holding it" until the next passing period. As a teacher, it's what I have to do. This was a ploy for attention. I know many teachers who simply refuse to allow bathroom breaks at all in high school.

As for girls and their periods, I generally allow young girls to go, no questions asked, as long as they don't abuse my trust. I teach 7th grade, and many of my girls are becoming young women, and are embarassed, so I try to be understanding. So far, I have not had a young lady abuse my trust.

Maxine Weiss said...

Some of the most frightening comments on here are from teachers..."allow them to go".

Girls having their periods. Oh, how generous of you. We really need to pay teachers less, not more!

.....another brick in the wall----never more true words.

Thank God for homeschool, distance learning, and correspondance courses....put them right out of business.

Who wants to deal with a bunch of useless bladder police, anyway?

Peace, Maxine

Derve Swanson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gahrie said...


Just how many days have you spent in a classroom with 37 7th graders?

Gil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vbspurs said...

Like baseball, this entire episode is situational.

As Jennifer mentioned, it all depends on the variables.

If this is a relatively good student, who may act up on occasion, but who doesn't "use" the system normally, and just had to pee -- and the teacher is a normal teacher, perhaps overworked, but thought a wee-wee break was not needed...

...if this is that case, then 10 days without pay is excessive, although it's hard not to sympathise with the poor kid.

But like David said in his examples, there is plenty of blame to go around here.

All in all, an interesting non-story.


Ann Althouse said...

Has everyone actually watched the film clip? This is a teacher who knows the student enough to have formed the belief that he was just taking advantage, making an excuse to go out and wander the halls. She was also in a position to notice if he was actually in any physical discomfort. Are students suppposed to be able to leave the room whenever they want? I agree that the better answer is to have strong hall monitoring and to penalize the students who are caught wandering about, but again, this teacher is being deprived of 10 days' pay. And she's also being made to grovel in public and display to everyone how terribly much that pay means to her.

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bearbee said...

How long was the class..45 minutes? How far into the class did this bladder urgency occur? Was the kid ill, have a medical condition or does he have a bladder the size of a grape that he could not hold it in? Does he take advantage of in between classroom sessions to evacuate?

Perhaps she was fatigued that day or had personal concerns. Teacher says she was wrong. Enough!

KCFleming said...

Were this occur to a first-grader, this story might make sense. But we're reading instead about a high school boy, and this is fishy.

In the end, this seems to me a good example of the clash between soft and hard America. Soft America makes it a punishable offense to ever cause discomfort to fragile children, especially that painful condition of holding your bladder for 3/4ths of an hour. Dock her pay, stand her up in front of the People's Tribunal and admit her failure to abide by the Soft Party ideology.

Hard America says: this adolescent male will soon be in the workplace. If he leaves during every hour to void, he'll eventually be fired. If he urinates in a wastebasket, he'll be fired. If he talks back to his boss this way, he'll be fired. None of it will end up in the news. His friends who hear about it will rightly judge him an immature moron.

Soft America favors the creation of immature adults. Hard America knows you can't be a baby forever. When this teenage boy awakens from his Peter Pan stage, he'll be unable to comprehend what happened, and will fail. Good job, Mom and Dad! Thanks from the rest of us, who have to live with your little jerk.

And to make the teacher grovel like that? Disgusting.

Jennifer said...

Part of me agrees with you Pogo.

Part of me says even if this is a case of a student fed up with being bullied by a teacher, he should have just sucked it up and dealt with it. I mean, we've all had hateful teachers and there's no guarantee the kid won't have a hateful boss. But the other part of me says, No! Screw the man! Pee in a can!

Still too many variables for me to lay down my own verdict.

David53 said...

Why didn't the student say, “I don't care if you won't give me a pass I'm going to the bathroom anyway"? He must have known that peeing in a trashcan would get one or both of them in trouble. "Characters" often seek attention at the expense of others and in this case his effort netted a ten day unpaid vacation for the teacher. The teacher was wrong but a ten day suspension is excessive.


Do you know how much money those knucklehead tenured teachers get from their lifetime pensions after teaching for 30 years? Not much and what they get is richly deserved. Five years in the classroom was enough for me, if you have never taught in public schools you have no idea of the crap teachers have to endure for their pensions. I work with teachers everyday and 98.9% of them are not knuckleheads.

Thanks and God bless all you teachers, even the knuckleheads.

Gahrie said...


All 12 years I spent in school for starters.

And if I have an emergency, and have to use the bathroom, I have to call the school secretary, and ask her to send someone to cover my class. Talk about embarassing.

When I worked fastfood, I had to ask my shiftleader for permission to use the bathroom.

You post like you are an expert on the classroom, but you still haven't described an real world experience you have running one.

Ann Althouse said...

Note that I am not even contending that the teacher made the right decision, only that she was the one who had to make a decision, and she is being punished much too harshly. Meanwhile, the student gets a big laugh -- and what does he learn? He learns that you can be a selfish lout and make other people suffer for it in this world. All the other students learn that too.

Anonymous said...

It's not at all clear to me that the teacher had the authority to make her decision.

Our school policy is, if the student has to go to the bathroom, you have to let them go....Students have a right to go to the bathroom, and we don't deny them that.

So how do you figure that she was the one who had to make a decision? There was no decision to be made.

The decision she took was to deny the student his right, to thwart the school policy, and to deny the school superintendent his authority.

There is an easy way for you to show your support for her. Her email address is listed here, and paypal is just a click away.

Lioness said...

Biologically, the main thing that seperates a teenager from an adult is the fact that the front of the brain hasn't finished wiring yet. That's the part that practices judgement. IOW a teen can't be expected to practice good judgement all the time, including about bathroom breaks.

As the spouse of a high school science teacher it's always a judgement call when a class clown asks to go to the restroom, but there are better ways to handle the situation than denial. Checking on them allows you to establish if the student is someone you can trust or not.

As a parent, such incidents get filed under "another reason we chose to homeschool."

Gil said...


I think quxxo is right. If you really want to support this teacher, why aren't you using your money rather than your mouth?

In fact, you can go even further and set up a "Sadistic Teachers Fund" to compensate all teachers who are financially disciplined (a miniscule percentage) for humiliating their students.

Honestly, I think it's your pro-teacher bias rather than your common sense that's controlling your position on this one.

UTConservative said...

I am a substitute teacher (hoping for a permanent position next fall) and have to deal with these issues on a daily basis. My main problem is having the regular teacher leave a note saying not to let students leave the room unless called by the office. (The official school district policy is that students are not supposed to be allowed to go to the restroom for the first 30 minutes of each period, and then leave it to individual teachers whether or not to allow restroom breaks.)

Usually, I will ignore these instuctions, as I don't agree with that policy and I feel like expecting a substitute to follow such a rule shows no respect for the sub's intelligence or judgement. I have several reasons for not agreeing with such a policy. One is an issue already mentioned in other comments-teenage girls having periods. I am just not going to tell a girl in either middle school or high school that she can't go to the restroom when I don't know why she needs to go, and I'm not going to make her have to tell me why she needs to go. And if I'm not going to tell girls no, then it would be discriminatory for me to tell boys no. Also, I think having a blanket rule about no bathroom breaks just doesn't show enough respect for the students, and there are times when you just can't control when you need to go.

My personal rule is to allow them to go, but only one at a time and I do use my judgement to not allow them if many are asking at once (which usually shows that they are trying to take advantage of having a substitute), or they haven't been doing their work, or if I am familiar with a specific student as someone who is just trying to get out of class.

As to this specific situation, I don't see how anyone can think the teacher should be suspended for 10 days, or that the student should not have been punished (possibly even suspended or at least placed in in-school suspension) for going in a trashcan basically in front of the other students, which I assume included members of the opposite sex. If he needed to go that bad, he should have just walked out of the room and gone to the restroom and dealt with the consequences later. From the reaction to this incident he would not have been in trouble for it. It seems clear to me that be taking the action he did he proved the teacher right, that he was just trying to get out of class or get attention instead of really needing to urinate. I see no evidence of this teacher being on a power trip, since she had allowed him to go every other time he had asked and evidently allowed other students bathroom breaks as well. I would suggest to the teacher that no matter how the matter ends up being settled, she look for a job elsewhere next year with a school that does a better job of backing up its teachers in discipline matters.

KCFleming said...

Re: "compensate all teachers who are financially disciplined (a miniscule percentage) for humiliating their students"

See what I mean?

A teacher is no longer considered to be in a position of authority in school. She has two decades of experience teaching, and judged that student who amazingly needed to use the toilet every day during her class was probably goofing off. The fact that his response was to urinate in her wastebasket rather than leave anyway and use a proper toilet) proves her right.

But to leftists, she's a tyrant who is humiliating the poor young man. They do not grant her any authority to decide if he is or is not shirking.

Strange, but I suspect that when the same young man, drunk after a few at the local tavern, decides to urinate on their front lawn, they'll call the cops.

The boy's just learned an awful and uncivil lesson. Both gil and quxxo are shameful examples of how rudderless the left has become. They are unable to stomach even have the merest suggestion that civilization requires following a few simple rules. Not peeing in wastebaskets in classrooms seems to me a paltry request.

Gil said...


You are as poor a judge of other people's politics as you are of this situation.

I'm not of the left. I'm a libertarian who is of the minority (but correct!) opinion that children are people who deserve to have their dignity respected.

I suspect that you would be (justly!) offended by someone's efforts to obstruct you from going to the bathroom when you judged that it was more important than whatever else was happening.

And, it's curious why you don't think that the teacher should be obliged to obey the "few simple rules" regarding bathroom requests.

It seems to me that the only explanation is a prejudice against children.

Perhaps some would enjoy reading David Deutch's The Final Prejudice.

Gil said...

And another thing...

I find it odd that people who bemoan the lack of respect for teachers' authority suggest that the student should have ignored her denial of his request and walked out of the room!

He complied with her authority! He didn't leave the room. He suggested a way to relieve himself without going to the bathroom. She said: "Go ahead" thinking that calling his bluff would show that she was smarter than he was.

She was wrong!

I don't know the details of this situation or these people better than any of you. But I'm confident that the boy was in a better position to judge the urgency of his situation than the teacher was, and for that reason alone his request should have been granted.

I'm also confident that if the school were to "support" this teacher in her violation of the school rules (and common decency) it would do more harm than good.

Steven Taylor said...

I find it astonishing that anyone would think that the teacher's actions in this case justifies denying here one quarter of her monthly income (assuming that the loss of ten day's pay is ten working days out of the month).

One of the biggest challenges facing a teacher is maintaining sufficient discipline in the classroom so as to allow teaching to take place and no doubt judgment calls have to be made and this one hardly ranks as radically unreasonable.

Even if there was a clear "All students get to go to the bathroom whenever they want" policy, she doesn't deserve a 10 day loss of pay.

And I will say that I didn't interpret he parting statement from the video as being cowed as much as: "Fine, if that's what the District wants, any student can leave my classroom whenever they want, and I hope that makes the District happy."

Because certainly what we should be concerned with is making sure students can leave class whenever they want, rather than worrying about whether a proper learning environment is in place.

Gil said...

Steven Taylor,

It's back to math class for you.

And, no stopping at the bathroom on the way!!!

KCFleming said...


Libertarianism does not mean being a libertine. Perhaps, given your disdain for authority, you are instead an anarchist. Either way, you appear to be insufficently versed in actual human behavior to recognize the easily foreseen outcomes of doing whatever you want whenever you want to.

Young men who behave this way become menaces when adults. You give real libertarians a bad name.

Gil said...


You misunderstand.

My position on this issue isn't a libertarian one. I think you're entirely wrong about this being a litmus test of politics. It's an issue of decency towards young people.

I'm an example of an adult who remembers what it was like to be a smart child who was frequently disrespected and mistreated by stupid adults. I had some good teachers, and I had some horrible ones. I don't respect the horrible ones, and neither does any sensible person.

Age isn't wisdom. And, having survived for decades as a teacher doesn't confer infallible judgement about other people's needs and motives.

I'm not arguing that what the boy did was right. I'm arguing that what the teacher did was wrong.

I'm also not claiming that her penalty was the perfect one. But, I'm unsympathetic to calls for leniency for her action.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that the only ones defending this boorish behavior are other teachers.

Personally, I can't figure out why you wouldn't happily let some ne'er-do-wells leave class for a while each day. Who cares, they are idiots.

I usually giggle at the home school believers, but power plays like this are exactly why they are gaining converts

Anonymous said...

So uh, have any of you donated yet?

Anonymous said...

Though one would think that George W. Bush has killed that false god, I know many of you conservatards still worship in the cult of personal responsibility.

The student is a basically an adult and certainly knows right from wrong. The teacher is an adult and certainly knows right from wrong.

So to you I ask: what are the natural consequences of a student that skips out on class for 15 minutes each day? What are the logical consequences for a teacher that ignores a written school policy?

All you guys that claim to be in the daddy party, really want a big authoritarian spanking of the teen, and really want to give the teacher a nice hug.

Really odd how tomorrow you will blame liberals for society's ills. In the meantime, I take it none of you have put your money where your mouth is. Typical chicken-hearted responses.

KCFleming said...

quxxo, your arguments are so illogical and silly as to defy description, much less warrant a response. Really, given the lack of internal coherence, no reply is possible.

Jacob said...

You ask what I would do if I saw a student wandering the halls who I asked me to go to the washroom every day.

The school has a policy that the teacher can have a student escourted to and from the washroom. So I do that.

I think because a student has to be in school, it makes it more of a problem for teacher's to do what she did.

Personally I find the whole idea of needing permission for bathroom breaks ridiculous. At my high school we could go to the washroom whenever we needed. And we had a hall monitor who was always patrolling.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Marklar!

she just tried to crack down on one student who was abusing the privilege.

Honestly, it just seems ridiculous to say that a teacher can't ask students to sit through a 45 minute class session.

What part of Our school policy is, if the student has to go to the bathroom, you have to let them go....Students have a right to go to the bathroom, and we don't deny them that gives her the authority you marklar she should marklar?

Apparently, your complaint should be with the school marklar, for setting up this marklar policy. Marklar!

Ann said "Let's help the teacher!"

So while all you conservatarians we're trying to marklar the kid for a noose, smother the teacher in hugs and blame liberals for stupid bureacratic zero-tolerance policies, I actually stepped in and put in a bit of elbow grease by finding her email marklar and presenting that.

As expected, none of you moral authorities have stepped up to the challenge. This is what many of us have come to expect from your side of the aisle. All hat and no cattle. Just like your leader, the Chimp Afraid of the Horse!

Since in fact, I did contribute to her help I think I am allowed to ask who has contributed.

Anyway, let's not rehash the Althouse: moderate marklar or wingnut conservative debate. She self identifies as a liberal, as a youstabee, but analyses in her forum of her blogroll and blog topics and who agrees with her and who does not shows that by any non-partisan analysis, Ann is a partisan marklar with certain social liberal ideas.

Even vdpus the litigious almost-doctor-student agrees!

vbspurs said...

Maybe I seem to be one of the "good" ones because I'm not one.


Stop this incessant backtalk about not being a conservative already, else I'll delete my Althouse vote for "Conservative Blogress Diva".


You see, young marklar. Those marklars don't care about marklar marklar. They just want to take your marklar and marklar their own marklar. The only marklar for this is to marklar.

But I marklar that your hair condition seems to have improved. Minoxidil or Marklar!

KCFleming said...

Man, if quxxo's last comment had had a 9:41 P.M. tag on it, well, alcohol would surely be to blame.

But, uh, wow. Not unlike the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, when Hal is shutting down.

Daisy, daisy, give me your answer, do...

verification word: wawtr
What quxxo should have stuck to; not the fire kind, though.

UTConservative said...

To Kirk Parker:

Nice, sarcastic remark, but you know that's not what I meant; or if you did think I meant that boys have periods too, them you're fairly stupid.

What I meant is that if I allow a girl who asks to go the restroom to go without asking her why she needs to go, then the only fair way to govern the class is to allow a boy who asks to go to the restroom to go without asking him why he needs to. I'm not going to make an announcement in class that girls are allowed to go because they have periods but boys are NOT allowed because they don't have periods. If you're going to allow girls to go, then in my opinion you pretty much have to let boys go also.

Candace Marley said...

My son has been denied the RIGHT to use the bathroom when he needed to go and this is WRONG! He proceeded walked out of class anyway, went to bathroom and returned to class at which time the teacher proceeded to hand him a detention slip. My son tore it up in front of the teacher and threw it in the garbage. I back him up in this.

Forcing a child to hold their waste is bad for their health and mistreatment. Read great info on the health effects at