FUMING parents have slammed a school after they installed shutters on toilet doors to restrict access to them.
The decision to install the lockable gates at Hundred of Hoo Academy, in Hoo St Werburgh, Kent, has created an uproar as parents claim that some pupils aren’t drinking to avoid using the loos.
Angry parents have hit out at the draconian rules put on their kids, with the academy admitting that the shutters were a new instalment.
Under current rules pupils, have to be issued a pass to use toilets during lesson times, but the new lockable gates mean they have to be given a key.
Lauren Jewiss, 32, from Hoo, said the rules were “ridiculous” and explained pupils have to go to Student Services to request a key for the toilet and then take the key back.
She told Kent Online: "It's a secondary school and it's big school - sometimes they have to go from one side to the other to get the key.
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"If someone's got a bad tummy or something, it's going to be difficult for them - it's not fair.
“One of the girls was on her time of the month and they wouldn't let her go. Her mum said just get up and walk out - which she did and then she got in trouble.
"It's basic human rights to go to the toilet. Some students aren't going to the toilet in the day and they have half an hour bus journey home before they can go.
"They haven't been able to go at lunch because there are queues at lunch - so they have to split their lunch time between eating and queuing for the toilet."
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Parents are now considering creating a petition, with many of them likening the academy to a “prison” with one mum claiming her daughter “almost had an accident.
Commenting on Facebook, one parent said: "My daughter already didn't drink enough at school because of not having enough time to queue for the toilet at break times, so now she drinks even less. Constantly coming home with a headache."
Another added "This is the same as my daughter", while a third claimed "my daughter refuses to drink at all."
Other parents said that their children were refusing to drink in the morning before school for the same reason, while others said girls had not been able to change sanitary protection due to the rules.
In a statement, Hundred of Hoo Academy said it was "renowned for our safeguarding systems and support.”
'NO CHANGE TO POLICY'
They added: "As part of this safeguarding approach we have always closely monitored pupil’s attendance and punctuality to lessons.
"Pupils are able to access toilets, student services and our pastoral rooms throughout the day but should follow the school systems that have been in place for a number of years, with pupils reminded of them termly.
"There has been no change to policy and pupils are able to use the Academy facilities.
"We have multiple bathrooms around the Academy and pupils use these freely during break and lunch, as staff are on duty in these areas.
"During lesson time pupils should register at their lesson and use the teachers ‘out of lesson’ pass to gain access to the bathrooms or attend one of the pastoral rooms. This ensures we know the location of all pupils and can safeguard them effectively.
"Like all schools, we try to encourage students to use the toilets at the most appropriate times to avoid lessons being disruptive, however, if a child needs to use the toilet then they are permitted to do so especially when they have a medical condition that may require it more frequently.
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"Shutters are used on site to prevent unauthorised use of the toilets when they are not supervised which improves both student safety and helps avoid any vandalism. We have specifically opted to use shutters rather than doors as this allows a clear view into the communal area of the toilet for staff when walking the site.
"We take our responsibility to safeguard and educate pupils extremely seriously and will continue to support our pupils to be the best that they can be."