My child was denied a toilet break at a German primary school

58 posts in this topic

My 6 year old has just begun attending school here in Germany (first time at school, we're 4 days in) and while overall the experience has been very positive from her perspective, I am very concerned about a number of things. The school doesn't ask or require ANY information from the parents about our family or our daughter: i.e. NO emergency contact information, no permission form for urgent medical treatment, no extra clothing in case of accident or weather, no information about rules/regulations/norms to follow about clothing, eating times, drop-off/pick-up... nothing! Only one teacher in the building speaks a bit of English and my German is below a toddler level so I'm having great difficulty trying to ask advice from the teachers, though I have a feeling that this would be trouble even if I spoke perfect German.

 

So here's our current dilemma that I'd like to share with you and get your perspective on: Yesterday my daughter had to use the toilet and asked her friend (who speaks both English and German very well) to ask the teacher permission to leave class and use the toilet. She was told 'No', and made to sit another 20 minutes in class until she finally just couldn't hold it anymore and urinated all over herself. Then the teacher made her clean it up, alone, with everyone watching, then made her sit in her wet clothing for the rest of the day, even though it was 'gym day' and she had extra clothing in her bag. The teacher wouldn't let her change into her clean gym shorts and t-shirt saying that those clothes are just for gym time. WTF!

 

Being able to use the toilet when a person needs to is a basic human dignity that should be respected.

Young children cannot be expected to be able to control their tiny bodies right away... it takes years of practice to be able to regulate our bodies to fit a work or school schedule.

 

I'm upset at this. What is your perspective? Do children have rights in Germany? Is it widely seen as okay to refuse toilet access for children based on adult-determined schedules?

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I do remember my kids telling me they were not allowed to use the bathroom but luckily they didn't have an accident so I assumed it was just the teacher having a bad day. But in your case I would lose my shit. That is just unacceptable law or no law. 

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That teacher needs to be fired, if she has really done that.

 

14 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

It is illegal to not let a child use the toilet.

 

Not just a child, even teenagers and grown ups.

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I can only imagine that it could be a very humiliating and life lasting self esteem damage to your kid, so I go full force on the teacher.

 

If no repercussions would come from the school director's, I would lawyer up, even if it was just scare the teacher and make her/him rethink about life.

I would also instruct my kid to ignore teacher's orders on this. 

 

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I´d make this teacher apologise to your child and if he/she refused I´d take it to te state prosecutor and in paralled sue him/her for damage compensation. Firstly though, I´d like to hear his/her side of the story.

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This happened to me when I was 5 & I remember to this day. Make sure you follow up and explain to your child the teacher was wrong and what was done about it. 

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here is a quick and dirty google translation of snowin's link:

 

  • Körperverletzung im Amt gemäß § 340 StGB (Schüler und Studenten)
  • Misshandlung Schutzbefohlener gemäß § 225 I StGB (Schüler)
  • Verletzung der Fürsorge- und Erziehungspflicht gemäß § 171 StGB (Schüler)
  • Nötigung gemäß § 240 I StGB (Schüler und Studenten)
  • Beleidigung gemäß § 185 StGB (Schüler und Studenten)

 

Jedermann hat das Recht, nicht, insbesondere nicht durch staatliche Gewalt am Besuch einer Toilette zur Verrichtung der Notdurft gehindert zu werden. Dieses Recht steht jedermann uneingeschränkt zu und ist z.B. durch Art. 3 EMRK (Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention) und Art. 1 und 2 GG (Grundgesetz) abgesichert. Es ist elementares Grundrecht, seine Notdurft ungehindert auf Toiletten verrichten zu können.

 

Everyone has the right not to be hindered, especially by state power, from visiting a toilet for the purpose of emergency. This right is open to everyone without restriction and is e.g. By Article 3 of the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) and Articles 1 and 2 Basic Law (Grundgesetz). It is an elementary basic right to be able to perform his emergency without hindrance on toilets.

 

 

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Go and talk to the teacher with a person that fully understands German ( But without your Daughter) and then hear the other side of the story...

 

BTW... I just asked my daughter what happens if she needs to go Pee pee in the middle of a class ?

 

She replied...  Papa, that would never happen becuase we can always go between classes... they tell us this from the begining of Kiga...

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As someone that as taught this age group, there are some reasons why I would also refuse permission to go to the toilet. It can be very disruptive to the class if you let children leave whenever they want. It is often the case that you let one kid go and they all want to go. A 6 year old needs to learn that they need to go to the toilet before lesson starts. Saying that though, not all 6 year olds have learnt this yet. What I would do in this situation is say no, then keep on eye on them for the next 5 min

utes to get an idea of whether they really wanted to go or just wanted an adventure to the bathroom rather than listening to me. I have never worked with a teacher that lets 6 years old go to the toilet whenever they please.

 

Doing nothing for 20 minutes, if the child was obviously uncomfortable, and then getting her to sit in wet clothes is inexcusable though. 

 

19 minutes ago, PandaMunich said:

Aren't you in temporary lodgings at the moment?

Then just take care that your new flat is in a different school district.

That's the pragmatic solution.

And next time, ask around first what that specific elementary school teacher is like, that's part of the due diligence of being a parent in Germany.

 

Teachers are Beamte (civil servants) and cannot be fired.

And you don't want your daughter to remain in the class of a teacher who has been reprimanded because of her.

Nor do you want your daughter to remain in a class that witnessed her humiliation, she needs a new class.

Pick your battles.

 

She will also finish with that teacher in a 3 or 4 months time anyway won't she? 

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3 hours ago, programdirector said:

I do remember my kids telling me they were not allowed to use the bathroom but luckily they didn't have an accident so I assumed it was just the teacher having a bad day.

 

This sounds more like a teacher whom has neglected her duties by not letting her go to the bathroom when requested, then making her clean up the urine in front of the class, and leaving her to sit in wet clothes with urine. This sounds like neglect and humiliation of a child.

 

I would request a meeting as soon as possible (with an advocate/witness of your choice present) with the head of the school and the teacher to express concerns and to find out the other side of this story.

 

In the meeting, I hope the teacher doesn't say something stupid like "I took all the children in my class for a bathroom break not too long before this happened".

 

All the children in the class are sometimes taken to the bathroom by the teacher as a group. However,  children are individuals, therefore it's unrealistic for teachers to expect the children to all be on the same bladder/bowel emptying schedule. Perhaps some of children didn't have to go at that time and therefore shouldn't be denied an opportunity to leave the class later to use the bathroom. 

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Especially nasty as she was a new 6 year old kid in class with no German, and no idea about any (illegal) rules. 

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41 minutes ago, Atrag said:

She will also finish with that teacher in a 3 or 4 months time anyway won't she? 

 

No, in elementary school you usually have the same teacher two years running.

Age 6 means first grade, so if she remains at that school, she would also have her the next year.

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15 minutes ago, Lavender Rain said:

I would request a meeting as soon as possible (with an advocate/witness of your choice present) with the head of the school and the teacher to express concerns and to find out the other side of this story. 

 

Is it possible that the child that asked on her behalf did not convey the request clearly?  That could have been one reason why she was not allowed to go.  However, making her sit in the wet clothes afterwards is inexcusable IMO.

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Just now, LeonG said:

 

Is it possible that the child that asked on her behalf did not convey the request clearly?  That could have been one reason why she was not allowed to go.  However, making her sit in the wet clothes afterwards is inexcusable IMO.

 

And making her clean up the urine in front of her peers is atrocious.

 

 

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6 hours ago, AlexCLE said:

my German is below a toddler level so I'm having great difficulty trying to ask advice from the teachers, though I have a feeling that this would be trouble even if I spoke perfect German.

 

I think anyone would understand an angry parent saying "I am mad as hell and it will not happen again" . punkt.

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35 minutes ago, Lavender Rain said:

 

This sounds more like a teacher whom has neglected her duties by not letting her go to the bathroom when requested, then making her clean up the urine in front of the class, and leaving her to sit in wet clothes with urine. This sounds like neglect and humiliation of a child.

 

I would request a meeting as soon as possible (with an advocate/witness of your choice present) with the head of the school and the teacher to express concerns and to find out the other side of this story.

 

In the meeting, I hope the teacher doesn't say something stupid like "I took all the children in my class for a bathroom break not too long before this happened".

 

All the children in the class are sometimes taken to the bathroom by the teacher as a group. However,  children are individuals, therefore it's unrealistic for teachers to expect the children to all be on the same bladder/bowel emptying schedule. Perhaps some of children didn't have to go at that time and therefore shouldn't be denied an opportunity to leave the class later to use the bathroom. 

 

You quoted me wrong.

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Thank you, thank you! For everyone who responded in support and advice and perspective, I thank you!

I am writing under my husband's account for this page and I really appreciate the support in our new country.

To be clear: I do NOT wish for harsh measures against the teacher.. bad days and misunderstandings happen. That's not a good reason to leave a stain on this woman's life. We want to be good here, and appropriate to our new culture and home, but it's just so hard when the communication is so difficult! If they would just let us know what to expect, how to deal, how to prepare, etc... I would be better able to help here.

 

My daughter is regularly in a wonderful class for integration with a wonderful teacher and kind other students. It's only on the ONE day of the week that they do "gym" and my daughter spends the day with this other teacher who didn't let her use the toilet. She speaks a language my husband also speaks so we will talk with this woman on the first of the week.

 

We don't want to make waves here. We don't want to upset the woman who will be alone with our daughter each week, without our support.

 

I'm just so frustrated. I'm trying to learn German fiercely so I can communicate more efficiently.

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10 minutes ago, programdirector said:

 

You quoted me wrong.

 

PD, I went back and included your entire quote. Sorry I wasn't trying to quote you wrong.  I was trying to make a point this wasn't a teacher just having a bad day as the details described in the first post sounds more like neglect. Teachers can have a bad day, but shouldn't take out their issues on innocent children. 

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