- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) — A middle-school teacher purportedly told three students to urinate into a soda bottle because he didn’t have time to escort them to a restroom.

The boys did as they were told, said Thomas Field, interim superintendent of Wicomico County public schools.

The incident happened Friday at Salisbury Middle School, where restroom vandalism led to a policy that some students had to be escorted to the restroom. Students said the eighth-grade teacher couldn’t find anyone to escort the students.

“In my 39 years of working here, I’ve never heard of anything like this,” said Allen Brown, Wicomico County’s assistant superintendent for Student Services. “It was just a dumb thing to do.”

The school would not identify the teacher and said any disciplinary action will be determined after further review.

Mr. Fields said the students are not facing disciplinary action.

“They did what they were told to do,” he said. “We hold the adult responsible for what happened.”

Preston Whittington told the Salisbury Daily Times that his 13-year-old nephew was one of those asked to use the soda bottle.

“So I guess they either have to hold it or mess themselves,” he said.

Mr. Brown said the school has been having problems with students urinating in inappropriate areas and other bathroom misbehavior. School administrators then decided that eighth-graders who used the restrooms several times a day would have to be escorted by a faculty member.

He also said the students involved in the bottle incident asked to use the bathroom at about the same time. The teacher called for someone to escort them, but nobody arrived.

Rather than leave the classroom unsupervised, the teacher’s solution was to give the students a bottle.

Levi Willey Jr., president of the Wicomico County PTAs, called for a review of the matter.

“That’s not even civilized,” he said. “You don’t ask anyone to do that in a public area.”

Christopher Wilde, Salisbury Middle School PTA president, said he trusted school administrators but that it would be difficult to determine when bathroom requests were legitimate.

“If this happened to my daughter, I would be a little upset, but I would ask why,” Mr. Wilde said. “How do you know for sure if some kids have to go to the bathroom? That’s a tough call for teachers.”

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