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Students outraged over banned washroom breaks

Last Updated Dec 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm EDT

Historically washroom breaks have been an excuse for some students to get out of class.

Michael Power – St. Joseph High School in Etobicoke believes they have the perfect solution: banning washroom breaks during class time.

Now, students are raising questions about their personal privacy.

According to Grade 12 student Paul, it’s like being in “JK all over again.”

“In order for us to go to the washroom and be let out of class, we have to call down someone (to the class) to escort us to the washroom.”

In an email the Toronto Catholic District School Board confirms, “In some instances, students may have been accompanied by admin staff to the washroom as part of the regular monitoring of hallways to ensure that students do not miss out on class time.” They go on to say, “Staff are being asked to monitor the length of time the student is absent.”

The students CityNews spoke with confirm faculty are escorting students to the washroom but not into the washroom to the best of their knowledge. However, Grade 11 student Juliano says it still makes him feel “uncomfortable.”

“I don’t want someone watching me and knowing how long I take in the washroom or how long I’m there,” he said. “It’s just weird.”

Grade 12 student Silvia calls the washroom protocol “embarrassing,” going on to say that if students want to waste time going to the washroom instead of spending it in class learning, “it’s their own loss wasting their time.”

Ontario’s education Minister Mitzi Hunter weighed in, noting the school climate is something that is “extremely important.”

“We want every student that walks into the school to feel safe and included and that they belong in that school and that includes that the students voice is heard. So in this specific incident it’s important that the educators listen to the student voice.”

Human rights lawyer Caryma Sa’d told CityNews there are issues with the school’s policy.

“In my view, it’s treading in the territory of violation or privacy and human dignity to be watched, monitored or timed when using the washroom,” she said. “Or to even need to seek permission in the first place.”