Southington Schools and family at odds over student who says teacher had her wait to go to the restroom
Southington Local Schools Superintendent Rocco Nero tells 21 News that the parents of a nine-year-old girl, who claims she was humiliated when the teacher asked her and other students to wait before going to the restroom, are making the situation worse for their daughter by putting their version of what happened all over social media. He claims they are blowing it out of proportion.
The parents, Ashley and Nicholas Kellar, tell 21 News they wanted to bring the issue to light to make sure it doesn't happen to another child.
The Kellars say after meeting with the superintendent, the school principal, and two teachers on Wednesday, their daughter walked away with no apology and no resolution.
At the heart of the issue, according to the parents, is how the school district handled the situation; allegedly blaming their daughter, instead of coming up with a protocol for the future.
The fourth-grader says last Tuesday she raised her hand, with about ten other students, when asked by the teacher who needed to go to the restroom. This was a class that was towards the end of the school day.
According to the Kellars, a few students went up to the teacher and said it was urgent and were allowed to go. But the nine-year-olds parents say their daughter was trying to be respectful of the teacher's wishes.
"She couldn't wait anymore, she had her accident," her mom Ashley Kellar said.
Sitting in her own urine in class, the nine-year-old says she was embarrassed and tried to clean it up herself, but they ran out of paper towels. Then she was told to go to the office for a change of clothes.
The nine-year-old tells 21 News, "They said that it was unfortunate and they did not mean for it to happen. But I mean the teacher specifically didn't say she was sorry."
Ashley Kellar says, "We don't think that it was done maliciously, we don't think the teacher did it to be terrible, but at the same time it happened, and nothing is going to be done about it."
The fourth-grader says she used her long hoodie to cover up her wet pants as she walked to the office. That's where she was given shorts to change into that did not fit, because that's all the school had. She says she then was told to wait outside, and she stood there in her bare feet as she waited for her mom to pick her up at the end of the school day. She tells 21 News that the urine had also soaked her shoes.
21 News talked to Southington Superintendent Nero by telephone initially and requested an interview. He made it clear he did not think what happened was a news story, and said he was not willing to do an interview because this was just an accident, and the Southington teacher followed protocol. He explained that every classroom does have a policy on going to the restroom. When asked what the policy is, he said that students have to tell the teacher. When 21 News told him the parents said their child did tell the teacher, Superintendent Nero said, "Not totally from what I understand." When asked a second time to do an on-camera interview to give the schools perspective, Nero declined again.
The Kellars said they plan to pull their daughter out of the Southington Schools, and they say they want the policy to change so that no other child has to wait to use the restroom.
The superintendent tells 21 News he's very sorry that the child had to go through this.
It's an issue teachers have been dealing with since the beginning of time, weighing when is the best time to let students go to the restroom, and making sure they're getting their education at the same time.
Valley Attorney David Betras says there is no set law or regulation on bathroom use. It's based on school policy. Betras says, however, if a child has an issue where they need to frequently go to the restroom they should provide a note from the doctor or one from a parent to the school district stating why. That's because he says if something like this happens and the school was given a note they could be held liable to some extent.