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Teacher faces no penalty over bathroom break flap

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A teacher accused of denying third-graders potty breaks at Mill Plain Elementary School will not be disciplined following the outcome of one of two investigations, according to a teachers union representative.

Both investigations stemmed from parent complaints after two girls wet their pants May 15. They said the teacher refused to let them use the restroom during class. The class has a rewards system in which students could use the play money they earn to pay for bathroom breaks, though the rules allowed students to always use the bathroom if it was an emergency, according to Evergreen Public Schools.

The investigative report, released by the district Thursday afternoon, stated that the classroom policy for additional bathroom breaks came in response to numerous class interruptions, with students leaving to use the restroom.

The decision to use classroom dollars was based on the class system already in place. The teacher did not want to introduce a new bathroom pass system that would require students to navigate two systems.

The investigation into the second parent complaint is ongoing.

The teachers union came to the defense of the teacher Thursday afternoon with a statement released by Gloria M. Smith, president of the Evergreen Education Association. Smith said children were never denied bathroom breaks, the staff member has not been placed on leave and no disciplinary measures have been taken.

Gail Spolar, Evergreen Public Schools spokeswoman, said the teacher was out of class only on Monday. She has been in class the rest of the week.