A school has been slammed after being accused of introducing controversial rules which allow pupils just two official toilet breaks a day.
Police were called after up to 40 students at Bedale High School in North Yorkshire took to their playing field on Friday morning in protest.
Parents and pupils say the new rules only allow youngsters to visit the loos during two daily time slots – between 11.05am and 11.25am and 12.25pm and 12.45pm.
It appears to mean the pupils are barred from using the toilets after lunch in a move which has been branded ‘humiliating and undignified’.
The school insist that students are allowed access to loos ‘at all times’ but a letter send to parents in February stated: “There is no access to the main building (where the toilets are located) after 12.45pm.”
One parent, who does not wish to be named as she wants to protect her child, says her daughter has been refused access to the loos and exceptions are only made for those who have ‘medical cards’.
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.
“I have complained to the headteacher who has sent me a letter stating that the rule will remain.
“They can go between 12.25pm and 12.45pm but from then they can’t go to the toilet at all and lunch finishes at about 1.10pm.
“My daughter had stayed behind in her class to do extra work and then went to the toilet at 12.45pm but staff wouldn’t let her go.
“I wrote to the Head saying I felt this was a breach of human rights and she wrote back saying that those with medical issues would need to get a note from the doctor.
“It’s appalling, the fact that if they have got medical issues they have got to show a pass, they are making them a target for bullies, it’s just degrading.”
– Parent, posting anonymously on Facebook
Pupil Madelaine Anderson posted: “I find this unfair on everyone not only girls but also boys, not everyone needs to have a ‘medical note’ to be allowed to use the toilet.”
Others defended the rules, claiming it was put in place in a bid to stop bullies from using toilets as a ‘hang out’.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “North Yorkshire Police was alerted to a protest involving students at Bedale High School this morning.
“PCSOs attended the school grounds and, after making enquiries, advised staff that this was not a police matter.”
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 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.”
– A spokesperson for Bedale High School