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School Bans Year Group From Taking Toilet Breaks During Lessons

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School Bans Year Group From Taking Toilet Breaks During Lessons

A school in Northern Ireland has banned Year 11 pupils from taking toilet breaks during lessons.

Ulidia Integrated College in Carrickfergus sent an email to parents explaining that due to a number of pupils in the year group vandalising the toilets and breaching Covid-19 protocols, Year 11 pupils would now only be able to use the toilets between lessons unless they had a note from their parents counter-signed by a teacher.

At break and lunch times, toilets would operate on a one-in one-out policy for the year group.

Parents were told the ‘zero tolerance policy’ would be implemented from Friday 21 January.

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Parent Ciaran McCauley spoke out about the new rules on BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra, explaining that though his son wasn’t in the affected year group, he was still worried about the impact of the policy on other pupils.

Credit: Facebook/Ulidia Integrated College
Credit: Facebook/Ulidia Integrated College

McCauley said: “My son is in Year 12 at the school and he came home on Friday last and was quite concerned because he had become aware of the email that had gone out to the parents of Year 11 students.

“It doesn't affect my son directly but he was able to empathise with the issues that might be impacting the other students."

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McCauley said his son was particularly concerned about how the new rules would affect pupils who were on their period.

He continued: “He complained that the toilets were being locked and students and parents had been asked to supply notes.

"If the children needed to access toilets if they were on their period, they had to bring a note in, have it counter-signed by a teacher and dated.

“I thought it was regressive and led to embarrassing situations for kids. Unfortunately we live in a society where periods still have a stigma attached to them and they're still an embarrassment for many.”

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In a statement shared with Belfast Live, the school’s principal Michael Houston said: “As a rights respecting school, Ulidia Integrated College is in full support of the Period Dignity Project, which refers to the accessibility and availability of essential care needed to support a period in conjunction with the removal and breaking of stigma and taboo around periods.

"Education is a key factor in breaking the stigma surrounding periods and promoting respect, understanding and open discussions about what people may experience.

"Following repeated incidents of vandalism and breaches of Covid-19 safeguards in the toilets, many of which occurred during lesson times, some facilities had to be closed, replaced or repaired.

Credit: Ulidia Integrated College
Credit: Ulidia Integrated College
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"We want to ensure that all pupils in the particular year group affected are always given access to clean and sanitary facilities during their period."

He added that the measures were temporary and Year 11 pupils can still use the facilities before the start of school, at break and lunch times, and inbetween lessons.

He said: “In addition all single person all access toilets are open to all pupils all day every day without exception.”

LADbible has contacted Ulidia Integrated College for further comment.

Featured Image Credit: Creative Commons

Topics: UK News

Simon Fearn
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