The great debate- Teachers vs. Students: bathroom passes


Gee Brown, Reporter

Teachers and students express their differing views on the necessity of bathroom passes.

Many students have faced the dreaded pass, but what is its real purpose aside from deliberating whether or not a student can use the bathroom? With insight from teachers, all with different bathroom policies, a new perspective may be gained on this subject. Three LBHS teachers, Jon Hendrickson, Steve Bogusiewicz and Alonda Hartford all provide their opinions on the topic, and LBHS seniors Jordan Wilson and Thomas Keeling weigh in as well. The two students have spent a fair amount of time at the school and express vastly different opinions than those of the teachers on this issue.

Wilson believes some teachers have stricter bathroom policies than others because they feel like they need to. She thinks students should know when an appropriate time for them to leave the class is. When there is crucial instructional time taking place, a student should be aware of the fact that going to use the restroom will disrupt this time. Students need to be able to show responsibility in their class settings. Managing the use of restroom passes can help to prepare students for later in life to they correctly prioritize the importance of need over want.

“I believe that they’re worried about people, in general, abusing that power. Leaving, and not coming back. So they’re concerned that the students won’t be there and therefore won’t be held accountable for the actual classes,” said Wilson.

As a firm believer of bathroom passes, Mr Hendrickson explains why they’re detrimental to the classroom environment. They help to teach students discipline that will be required later in life; when there is a choice to be made, there will be more thought put into it before making a decision that grants immediate gratification. By having this structured method of instilling responsibility to his students, he is ensuring they put thought into what is most important to them. If they can’t wait for it, they have to sacrifice a few points of extra credit that could have been used on the final exam to potentially benefit them greatly.

“I believe that bathroom passes are beneficial.  They teach immediate gratification vs long-term happiness. Many students use the bathroom as a means to cure boredom.  I want them to stay in class and learn from my wisdom,” said Hendrickson.

Mr Bogusiewicz, or Bogie, as many students call him, falls in somewhat of a middle ground. On his wall hangs the iconic construction hat that has served as a bathroom pass for many years. This ensures that only one student leaves the room at a time, and it also gives him a visual reminder if somebody is gone while he’s teaching. The pass provides freedom to students in a structured way, allowing them to be the decision-makers.

“That’s why my pass is the way it is. If you want to act responsible, I’ll give you the opportunity to be responsible,” said Bogie.

Mrs Hartford has a different philosophy than the last two about bathrooms; she believes having to hold it merely distracts from quality class time, discussing how she would prefer that her students have full mental clarity while she teaches, rather than have worry about when they’ll next be able to use the restroom. As an Anatomy teacher, she understands the struggle students face when it comes to having to use the bathroom during class time.

“I think it’s important that your brain isn’t focusing on bodily functions when it should be focusing on what you’re supposed to be learning,” said Hartford. “I want you to go so that your brain cannot be preoccupied with that and can actually focus on what you need to focus on.”


There is a sense of social anxiety and pressure in singling oneself out to ask to use the restroom, Keeling believes. He thinks that a student has to be responsible in deciding whether or not to be present for the lesson, as long as there isn’t any interruption of class time for those who are there to learn.

“If a student decides to leave a classroom for bathroom use, supposedly, then that’s their time to waste, as long as they’re doing it without interrupting everyone to do so. You could argue that using a bathroom pass is more interrupting since you have to stop the teacher, then give them the bathroom pass, and it ends up stopping the entire class,” said Keeling.

After gaining the broad perspectives of teachers and students, one has to come upon his or her conclusion. I believe there are pros and cons to strict bathroom policies, though I disagree with bathroom passes- I understand, to a point, there is a necessity for them. It’s unfortunate that it has gotten to a point where there is a lack of trust when it comes to students’ use of the restroom. This is disappointingly stemming from a lack of responsibility on behalf of the student. Therefore, to rid ourselves of the hassle of bathroom passes, we should be focused on being more responsible with our teachers’ time.