School installs locked barriers outside toilets and people are not happy
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Dozens of children have staged a walkout of their school in protest over locked metal barriers being installed in front of their toilets.
At the Discovery Academy in Bentilee, the newly erected barriers are locked during lessons and get opened up at break and lunch times, meaning pupils can't answer nature's call and dash off to the loo mid-lesson.
Angry parents are joining their kids in protest and are planning to stage a demonstration outside the Stoke-on-Trent school on Monday (13 February).
One mum has said she saw over 70 pupils leaving the school on Thursday (9 February), including her son after pulling him out of lessons.
She explained that she'd seen pictures of the gates on Snapchat and asked her son to confirm whether they were real or not, when he told her they were she called the school and told them to 'send my son home now'.
Parents have slammed the 'ridiculous rules' and said the school is treating their children 'like animals', when they should be treating them with respect as 'they give you respect back'.
Parents believe that the metal barriers have been put in place over concerns that children are going to the toilet during lessons to look at their phones, along with some acts of vandalism.
However, there are worried parents who fear that the change will be 'humiliating' for girls, even though the schools says pupils can get medical passes if they need to be able to go at any time.
Another parent said: "Girls of a certain age need to use the toilet - sometimes at short notice.
"It's hard enough being a girl at that age never mind bleeding through in front of your whole class. I’m not having my daughter humiliated."
"With periods young girls don’t know when they are coming. You try to prepare as much as possible but there are still incidents. You can't prepare for an upset stomach, I think it’s disgusting."
The Discovery Academy is run by Alpha Academies Trust (AAT), who have released a statement explaining that students with medical needs can access the toilets whenever they need to, and want to encourage the kids to go to the loos at 'regular set times'.
An AAT spokesperson said: "At AAT we have high expectations of learning and clear processes in place to support.
"We have high standards of uniform ready for the world ahead and have processes in place for those who truant. We encourage students to go to the toilet at regular set times during the day and support those with medical needs by accessing toilets at any time."
"Parental engagement is extremely important to us and we value opportunities to listen to concerns and explain the reasons for our decisions."