A girl wet herself in class. Her NC mom says a teacher violated the child’s human rights

·2 min read

A parent told the Durham school board Thursday night a teacher violated her daughter’s basic, human rights last month by not letting her use the bathroom.

Shelecia Dixon said her 12-year-old daughter wet herself at Neal Middle School on Sept. 27 after a teacher refused to let students leave the sixth-grade classroom because of the class’s behavior with a substitute teacher the week before.

“This should have never happened,” Dixon said. “Our children have rights, and using bathroom privileges as a form of discipline is inhumane.”

According to Dixon, the teacher was keeping students in the classroom because the kids had been disrespectful and had walked out on the substitute. Dixon said her daughter was not among the children who had misbehaved.

It took almost an hour to bring her daughter fresh clothes after being told about the incident, Dixon told the school board. She had to leave her job, run home, get the clothes and bring them to the school — with her daughter having to sit in wet clothes the whole time, she said.

“This incident upsets me because my child was wet in class. Not preschool, a kindergarten class or a first grade class, but a sixth grade class,” Dixon said.

The News & Observer contacted Durham Public Schools after Thursday’s meeting to ask for any policies related to bathroom use.

“The physical and socio-emotional health and safety of our students is a priority of Durham Public Schools,” district spokesman William “Chip” Sudderth said in an email.

“Laws protecting the privacy of students and employees prevent DPS from commenting specifically about this case,” he added, “but as stated during the board meeting the administration at Neal Middle School has addressed this issue.

Speakers at school board meetings get three minutes. Toward the end of her time, Dixon said she was proud her daughter respected her teacher and did not walk out, despite the embarrassment this caused.

“We don’t typically respond to public comment, but I would love if the administration could follow up with this mom,” said school board Chair Bettina Umstead.

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