VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Officials at the Evergreen School District are investigating parents' claims that their students urinated in their pants after a teacher did not allow them to use the restroom.
Parents said a third grade teacher at the Mill Plain Elementary School forced students to pay to use the restroom with money they had to earn in class as part of the curriculum. Each day, students earn play money in class and used it to buy treats and trips to the bathroom, according to parents.
"My daughter finally told me, 'We have to pay to use the bathroom.' Nobody should have to pay to use the bathroom," said Merchon Ortega.
In Ortega's daughter's case, she chose to spend the money on a treat rather than a trip to the bathroom, causing an accident in class.
Jasmine Alayadhi, another concerned mother, said her daughter also came home after wetting her pants last week.
"'I didn't want to be left out. I wanted to have popcorn with my friends,' [she said]. And so she tried to hold it. She said it hurt so bad the pain was so bad – I just had to let it go," said Alayadhi.
Evergreen School District spokeswoman Gail Spolar said the students earning fake money to use the bathroom is all part of the teacher's management of the classroom.
"It's all part of how they manage the classroom and so that was the process decided on," said Spolar.
Spolar added that students do get breaks in the day to use the bathroom and each teacher decides how they monitor it during class. However, officials also said no students are ever denied from using the bathroom and said the concerns raised by parents are under investigation.
"They have to do something. They have to stop. It's inhumane. It's sickening," said Alayadhi.
School district officials said the teacher is not working during the investigation.