The Australian children who get punished for going to the toilet.

Well, that’s one way to soil a school’s reputation.

A Victorian primary school has ditched a program that punishes students who need to use the toilet during class, after parents complained.

The Herald Sun reported that Bellbridge Primary pupils were “fined” and made to stay late if they needed to visit the toilet during classroom time.

The school runs a “earn and learn” program where students earn pretend money but if they visited the toilet too often they were fined anywhere from $10 to $50. Some students were even held back at recess or lunch as punishment.

Yes, you read that right. These children were being punished for daring to put up their hand up for what is considered the most basic of human rights.

While it’s great news that the school back-flipped over the program and consequently acknowledged their error in judgement, sadly, it’s not the first time that this kind of shaming and humiliating practice has been seen in a modern Australian School.

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In 2011, another primary school in the Inner Eastern Victorian suburb of Kew came under scrutiny after it was discovered that their Principal was trialling a “whole class approach” when it came to toilet breaks. The practice meant that if one child needed to go to the bathroom, then the entire class would also have to go along.

So what was the Principal’s method to this madness, you ask? Well, her reasoning was apparently two-fold. She was adamant it would decrease interruption to class lessons (as children were less likely to ask to go if they thought the whole class would also follow them) and secondly, to curb graffiti.


It needs to be noted that at no time were parents consulted over this radical toilet policy and it was only when their children started to wet themselves, come home with headaches and develop urinary tract infections, that they discovered what was going on.

Imagine if a young girl with her period found herself unexpectedly needing to change her sanitary napkin in the middle of class and the humiliation of the WHOLE class having to follow her there. Not surprisingly, when parents found out, this degrading and obscene practice was halted but not before considerable backlash and complaints.

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The Principal was removed from the school and investigated and even though she made an attempt to be reinstated some 18 months later, the school revolted and she withdrew her intention.

Seriously though, and I’m not a teacher in a classroom so I really can’t comment on the disruption that a child leaving to go to the loo causes, but at what point is it ever okay to deny a child access to the bathroom? Sure, there must be kids who go just to get out of something but surely these are individual cases and can be dealt with both professionally and privately?

More importantly, why are these school a law unto themselves in these matters? Why aren’t toileting policies, like discipline, regulated and uniform?

Let’s hope that this is the last we hear of anything even resembling this kind of madness in school, ever again.

Have you ever seen policies implemented in a school that were just ridiculous or appalling? If you’re a teacher, what are your thoughts?