What has started out as a trickle of student dissent turned into a full stream of protest on Thursday as youth at a New Brunswick school protested a policy that won’t let them go when they need to.
More than 100 students at J.M.A. High School and Salisbury Middle School in Salisbury, N.B., walked out of class on Thursday to voice concerns over a new bathroom policy, which restricts students to having an escort to the washroom during class times or using the bathroom when class is not in session.
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An email obtained by Global News and distributed to parents at both schools — which are housed in the same complex — says the decision was made in response to vaping in the schools’ bathrooms.
“In schools, vaping is regarded as smoking. In addition, there have been acts of vandalism in our washrooms. These are happening mainly in the male washrooms,” wrote Tammy Constantine, principal for both schools, in the email.
“Consequently, students will be required to go to the washrooms during non-instructional times.”
Students said they now have to have an escort to the bathroom during class time and planned the protest earlier this week in response.
During the protest, one student brandished a sign with the phrase, “let us pee in peace.”
Others had copies of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom on their phones, saying the policy contravened their rights.
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A request for comment with J.M.A. High School and Salisbury Middle School was directed to the Anglophone East School District.
Gregg Ingersoll, the superintendent of the district, said that the email was sent at the principal’s discretion, but that he is not aware of any policy that would require students to be escorted to the washroom.
He added that students and teachers need to work together in order to find a solution.
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“Really the only way we’re going to find a solution is working with the students,” said Ingersoll.
“We can impose hard rules on them if we want, but that’s only going to work for so long. We need them to work with us.”
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