Sitting in my math class one day, I find it hard to concentrate. I can hear the teacher talking and I see problems on the board, but I am too distracted to pay any attention to the lecture. It is not because I am bored. It is because I need to use the bathroom, but I know that I cannot. It is not allowed.
In a school of almost 1,000 students, there is a total of only eight stalls for females, and five urinals and six stalls for males in the main building. According to Robert Shmerling, a doctor who wrote for MSN Healthy Living, the average person goes to the bathroom between four and eight times a day (every three to six hours), that is about 150 to 350 kids going to the bathroom an hour and about two to six kids using the bathroom per minute.
With five minutes in between periods, there is not enough time for everyone who needs to use the bathroom to go. Therefore, some students are forced to “hold it” for extended periods of time during class. This, in turn, proves to be a distraction for the student because instead of focusing on the class or the test, the student is more focused on trying not to go in the middle of class.
Most teachers allow students to get up and use the bathroom whenever they need to, but certain teachers give each student a restricted number of bathroom passes. Depending on the teacher, students are allowed two, three, or four bathroom passes a quarter (or none at all); they are only allowed to leave the classroom said number of times. In addition, teachers say that if a student does not use his or her bathroom passes during that quarter, they will be given extra credit, as if not using the bathroom is a reward, when urinating is a normal human body function.
Some teachers tend to use the excuse that they themselves cannot get up and use the bathroom whenever they want to, but teachers are not forced to wait in long lines like students have to. Students have to choose between getting late to class, waiting to use the bathroom, or holding it, using a pass, and risking running out of passes for the quarter. For students, there are consequences for being late; once you reach 10 tardies, you are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities.
Now, say a student has a class in a portable and their next class is in the main building. Because of the massive crowd in the walkway to and from the portables, getting back to the main building to your classroom itself will take the whole five minutes students are allotted between classes, not even giving students enough time to use the bathroom if they need to go.
There may have been a time back when MAST had a smaller population that limiting bathroom usage was reasonable, but with our population increasing by year and the restroom count remaining the same, there is a shortage of toilets for the student body.