Advice - child got sick at school - wwyd?

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Posted 11/14/2012 by Magz811 in NSBR Board
 

Magz811
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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:08:25 AM
My oldest daughter, Sydney, is in kindergarten. She is delayed in speech, fine, and gross motor skills. She is in an inclusion class and has an aide that is with her the entire school day.

Here's where it gets kind of gross...

Yesterday, I got a phone call at work from the school nurse. She told me Sydney got diarrhea "all over" and that someone needed to come clean her up and take her home. Thankfully, I only work about 5 minutes from the school. I rushed right over. There was probably a time span of 30 minutes from the time the incident occurred until I walked in the school doors. When I got there, Sydney was sitting there in soiled pants with diarrhea running down her leg. The nurse handed me a change of clothes and a package of wipes and directed me to the bathroom where Sydney had just been. There was diarrhea on the floor and on the toilet. I cleaned her up as best I could at school and we left.

I was mortified that the nurse let Sydney sit there in soiled pants and wait for me to come. Suppose it took me 45 mins to an hour to get there? This woman is a NURSE for goodness' sake and she let a child sit there in her own mess and did nothing about it. I didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to blow my top. I needed to go home and collect my thoughts.

I took Syd home and cleaned her up in the shower right away, but now she has a rash on her bottom and her thighs from where she sat with diarrhea for a half hour (or longer).

I'm not sure if there is some rule that the nurse isn't allowed to touch a child, but I think this is a bit extreme. If a child is covered in vomit, they don't help the child change? ESPECIALLY kindergarteners?!? It's a little hard for me to gauge because Sydney is so behind other children her age. That's why I'm asking for advice. WWYD? Is this normal practice in public schools?

Maybe I'm wrong. I can accept that. I just feel that if your school is one that is going to accept special needs children into an inclusion setting, that you should be prepared to deal with special instances like this. Again, I could be wrong and it's just my Momma Bear instinct talking.
TIA


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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:12:51 AM
Same thing happened to my oldest (now 21) when he was in 1st grade - he had diarrhoea (turned out to be the start of a GI virus) and didn't make it to the restroom in time. They called DH at work to come clean/collect him and just had him sitting in his soiled clothes until DH got there.

I didn't like it either but I guess that's how the school's handle it nowadays. I know when I was a child, the nurse had extra clothes in her office for children who had accidents etc...

maddiebsmom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:16:18 AM
As a parent volunteer, I would have never let the child sit like that. Even if I needed to have a chaperone in the room, I would have done my best to make the child comfortable. I also would have taken care of the bathroom. I work in pediatrics health care so maybe that is just me, I have no issues with messy situations. I do not think that our school has a policy regarding this but will check.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:17:22 AM
I think that is pretty standard practice from my experience and the parents I know IRL.



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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:18:26 AM
The parent in me is horrified. That just seems cruel. Of course someone should help a child get changed and cleaned up.

The risk-averse, bankerly business person in me thinks that any time a school employee strips a child naked and washes them off - obviously including their "private parts" that kids are taught no one should be touching - they are just inviting accusations, lawsuits and so on.

Is it right that they have to think that way? No. But our society has become so sue-happy and always looks for the worst in people, that it's the "safest" route for them to go.

I hope your daughter is feeling better soon and the rash goes away.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:18:49 AM
no teacher, nurse or administrator is allowed to intimately touch or undress a child, no matter what age. I can't say I blame them. my dd had an accident in kindergarten. while the teacher did not touch her, she did help her get changed and back to class. this teacher actually keeps underwear and stuff on hand in her classroom for accidents, and I was very grateful for that. but honestly, I think I would be upset if a teacher/nurse/anyone got my child naked and touched her. and I know my child (who is also developmentally delayed) wouldn't like it either.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:20:21 AM
I am not sure but I think there must be some kind of rules about this. DS broke his leg and was in a full leg cast for 3 months in 2nd grade. The school was nervous about having him there but I pushed for him to be in the classroom. He had a cath bottle to pee into and the nurse would help him get into the bathroom in in her office in the wheelchair then close the door. He did his business, emptied it rinsed it and put it back in the bag. She then opened the door and held it while he manuvered the wheelchair out. He eventually felt comfortable enough to slide out of the wheelchair and sit in circle time then pull himself up. His teacher would hold the chair but not touch him. Sooo what I am trying to say by all this is I think they have to be VERY CAREFUL about touching children.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:20:38 AM
My dd just threw up on herself at school this week too. When I went to pick her up she was still dressed in the dirty clothes. I don't know...maybe if they hadn't been able to reach me and I hadn't come so quickly, they would have had clothes for her to change into. I don't know what the policy might be...

That's a very sad spot for a child to be in .

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:23:55 AM
A four year old in my school had severe diarrhea last week. The assistant teacher, with another adult present, cleaned him up as best she could with baby wipes, helped him change, and we called his parents to come get him. He was in terrible distress from the diarrhea. Poor little guy. Poor teacher too!

I disinfected the bathroom myself. Guh-rossssss. But it is part of life with little kids. I work in a school. Kids get sick, we handle it, you know?

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:25:04 AM
I understand the concern of the school to handle it this way. The times we live in. Very sad.

While the nurse had you on the phone she could have asked you if it was ok with you and if your child would have been ok with being clean up. I am sure a parent volunteer and/or her aide could have been present too. How humiliating for the children. Again, the times we live in.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:25:07 AM
My child isn't school age yet, but I have a question... I understand liability issues & all with not changing/cleaning up the child. However, couldn't the nurse (teacher or someone) have given the OP's DD some wipes so she could try & clean herself up somewhat. Obviously, being little she wouldn't have gotten everything cleaned up but surely it would have been better than what the poor child had to sit in!

And WTH wouldn't someone have cleaned the bathroom up?

OP, I'm sorry this happened to your little one & I hope she is feeling better very soon.





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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:25:08 AM
The only time this happened with my kids was with my middle child. The school rang, and knowing that I work they asked me whether they had my permission to get him a change if clothes and help him clean himself up. They wouldn't take him to the showers as they were worried about spreading infection. I had to leave work to fetch him home anyway, but when I collected him he was at least comfortable in clean borrowed clothes and not embarrassed to be sitting there in a mess.

I am a nurse myself, and I know the state of the world we live in, but It really pains me that things have got to the stage where a school nurse is scared to clean up a child with diarrhoea- she would do it in hospital so why not in a school- with a chaperone if that is what it takes?


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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:25:55 AM
I'm torn on this. I completely understand your frustration but I find myself wondering if *I'd* be comfortable cleaning up a poopy 6 yr old.
3 yrs old? Sure. Maybe 4...
You say she's behind kids who are her age, is that the case for her size as well?


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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:30:50 AM
That is really sad. There should be common sense and policies in places to help young children clean up after being sick. . Shouldn't a nurse or aide be qualified to do this? I know in schools here there are students who must wear diapers at school and aides who change them/clean them. There MUST be a reasonable way to help any student clean up an take care of them within the school system.






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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:36:01 AM

no teacher, nurse or administrator is allowed to intimately touch or undress a child, no matter what age.
That's not true. I've had students in my class who had IEPs that provided for an aid to assist them with hygiene if necessary.

OP, if your daughter has an aide, I assume she also has an IEP. If her developmental delay is such that she is not capable of cleaning herself or if she may need some assistance to do so, then I would be asking for something to be put into the IEP.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:37:28 AM
I would phone the school principal and ask what the policy is. Then you will know for certain. It seems to me if they had clothes on hand and policy permits it, the nurse should have helped her change.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:38:04 AM
I'm sorry your DD had to go through that.

I have a hard time believing that someone couldn't have helped her clean up - with someone else present. My DD is in Kinder and I'm hoping they would help. I can't believe they hadn't yet cleaned up the bathroom - that is wrong. There is no reason they had to show that to you.

I would be chatting with them to see what their policies are, and to see if there is a better solution if that happens again in the future...




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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:38:46 AM
I'm horrified for you and your dd.

Your dd has an aide - does the aide assist her in the bathroom at other times?

I have many friends that are kindy teacher and aides. I posted your situation on facebook and asked their opinions. The nicest response was "I don't care if you have to put on gloves and tape garbage bags to your arms - you don't let a child suffer."

I know from when I used to volunteer, there was always a kid that either didn't make it to the bathroom or got sick. I would get assigned classroom watch while the teacher and aide would help clean the kid up.

Call the nurse and ask why she didn't help your dd clean up.....





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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:02:12 PM
Our school nurse keeps packages of clean underwear in a variety of sizes, and has extra sweatpants, etc. handy for situations such as this.

We've not hesitated to help when our special ed students have had accidents. You just put on gloves and do what needs to be done. As a rule we've had two adults present just to be on the safe side. I feel that would be the most prudent approach and is most respectful for the student, especially one who is nonverbal.

We've had female students at the elementary level (4th grade) who have cognitive disabilities such as Down Syndrome who have already begun to menstruate. It's a fact that they will need assistance in the bathroom. This can be challenging enough for a preteen, but when you're 10 and don't really have great self-care skills to begin with and are cognitively impaired, you will need some assistance. Usually this is provided by the nurse, but again, this can and should be included as part of the IEP.

OP-- it doesn't sound like this is a frequent occurrence, but you can ask for an accommodation of bathroom help be included in her IEP. Together, you and the school can work out some reasonable procedures.

I agree with others-- there needs to be a common sense approach.


Jill

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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:05:03 PM

any time a school employee strips a child naked and washes them off - obviously including their "private parts" that kids are taught no one should be touching - they are just inviting accusations, lawsuits and so on.


I think this is the answer. Poor baby, but I don't know that I can blame the school either.

My question is, where was her full time aide?

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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:08:27 PM
We've not hesitated to help when our special ed students have had accidents. You just put on gloves and do what needs to be done. As a rule we've had two adults present just to be on the safe side. I feel that would be the most prudent approach and is most respectful for the student, especially one who is nonverbal.
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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:11:42 PM
I gotcha. I would be absolutely furious if that was my kiddo sitting in her/his own mess for that long.

But, I also know that we live in a lawsuit happy society, and the school and it's employees have to protect themselves. There are probably some rules in place about staff not cleaning up a messy child due to privacy and whatever reasons. I would call the school and ask though, and look in the handbook to see if any policy like that is clearly spelled out though.

ETA: Wait. Sydney is handicapped, and in an inclusion room with an aide? Is she toilet trained? If not, who normally helps her use the bathroom at school, or changes her diapers? If she normally has someone assist with toileting, where was this person today? How come they could not clean her up/assist her in cleaning herself up? Now I'm not so sure about what I said above...




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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:12:58 PM
Why hadn't the nurse cleaned up the bathroom? I hope you didn't have to do it- that would be wrong. It's her job to keep the room clean and sanitary no matter what.

I hope Syd is feeling better today. Poor girl.




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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:15:32 PM

The parent in me is horrified. That just seems cruel. Of course someone should help a child get changed and cleaned up.

The risk-averse, bankerly business person in me thinks that any time a school employee strips a child naked and washes them off - obviously including their "private parts" that kids are taught no one should be touching - they are just inviting accusations, lawsuits and so on.

Is it right that they have to think that way? No. But our society has become so sue-happy and always looks for the worst in people, that it's the "safest" route for them to go.

I hope your daughter is feeling better soon and the rash goes away.



Sadly, I agree.

I wonder, however, if you could ask if you signed a paper or something in order that this doesn't happen again? Is this something that might happen again?

I am sorry. Miserable for every single person involved and most especially your sweet daughter.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:23:00 PM
I haven't been in one school in the last 10 years that never had showers available in the gym locker rooms. That child could of been allowed to shower. By the time kids are in school they are old enough to shower.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:23:30 PM
Why hadn't the nurse cleaned up the bathroom? I hope you didn't have to do it- that would be wrong. It's her job to keep the room clean and sanitary no matter what.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

More than likely it is a janitorial services job to keep the room clean and sanitary. She may have had to wait until they get there to clean it.

I don't work at an elementary school so body fluid messes aren't frequent. But we are not to touch them. Only the janitors do it and only with the prescribed means for safe handlling.

Not only is there the issue of parents suing a school for inappropriate touching of a child during clean up. But fecal matter is a bio hazard that can spread disease from the sick to the care giver.

I think the wwyd is to ask what the school policy is now and what steps need to be in place to rectify the situation in the future. No blame, no anger, just a simple how do we keep this from happening again. And realize there may not be a solution you like


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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:29:39 PM
I am sorry for your little girl.

However, with the way society is ready to sue and accuse school personnel of inappropriate behavior, I understand why the nurse would not clean up your child. It probably is policy from the school board.

A friend works as an aide with special needs students, they clean up any accidents as a team. This includes cleaning the restroom. It is part of the plan for the students.
I wonder where her aide was? This seem like it falls in her job description. If not, I would make sure it is included.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:46:51 PM
As a teacher in a school with a large number of special needs children I am thinking they follow a rule similiar to ours: We are not allowed to clean up students unless we are the designated aid. It is a terrible situation to be in but we have been told repeatedly that the district will not back us if a lawsuit results. With no district backing, there is no way I would put myself out there like that. 99% of the time, there would be no issue with the parent but I can't afford the other 1%. I feel for your daughter in this situation and I do recommend asking that something be added to your DD's IEP.


Jen




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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:47:23 PM

no teacher, nurse or administrator is allowed to intimately touch or undress a child, no matter what age.


There must be different standards for different school districts or states. One of my personal training clients is a teacher in special education and she has some teenage kids who are in diapers and she changes teenage poop.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:49:55 PM

But fecal matter is a bio hazard that can spread disease from the sick to the care giver.



There is no special handling of fecal material besides the cleaner wearing gloves. The soiled clothes would be tied up in a plastic bag. It's not rocket science, it's shit plain and simple. I might be convinced to excuse a teacher but really, a nurse is TRAINED to handle it. She could involved the 2 unrelated adult rule, call in the principal, vice, guidance councilor etc. Had the child in the br of the nurses office. Door slightly ajar and undress herself and if needed then she could of helped her clean herself. WITH HER OWN PERSONAL AIDE AS A WITNESS even.
Can you imagine daycares where no one could change a 2 year old's diaper.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:50:35 PM
I'm sorry. Ds7 had an accident at school last year. We live about a half hour away. I don't know that all schools have extra clothes but ours does. We have uniforms, and they have it set up where you can either trade in a piece for a piece, or pay a dollar for an article of clothing - used uniform items. By the time i got there, ds was wearing clean clothes. However he did "clean " himself. He didn't understand why he needed to go home and get in the tub. The teacher told me ds was upset when he threw his underwear away! Lol "trust me your mom will be ok with it."


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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:51:13 PM

The parent in me is horrified. That just seems cruel. Of course someone should help a child get changed and cleaned up.

The risk-averse, bankerly business person in me thinks that any time a school employee strips a child naked and washes them off - obviously including their "private parts" that kids are taught no one should be touching - they are just inviting accusations, lawsuits and so on.

Is it right that they have to think that way? No. But our society has become so sue-happy and always looks for the worst in people, that it's the "safest" route for them to go.

I hope your daughter is feeling better soon and the rash goes away.



I agree with this. But given your daughter's disabilities, I would have hoped that a few adults could have gotten together to try and make your DD as comfortable as possible.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 1:09:47 PM
The parent in me is sad for Sydney but the teacher in my would have done the same thing. I had a student with severe burns one year and she was still in pressure garments. It was in her 504 that I was allowed to help her in the restroom and that is the only elementary aged child I have ever helped more than buttoning a pants button.



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Posted: 11/14/2012 1:50:39 PM

More than likely it is a janitorial services job to keep the room clean and sanitary. She may have had to wait until they get there to clean it.

I don't work at an elementary school so body fluid messes aren't frequent. But we are not to touch them. Only the janitors do it and only with the prescribed means for safe handlling.


When I taught about ten years ago the teachers weren't allowed to clean up any bodily fluids. That included vomit, poop, pee, or blood. We had to get a janitor. If one wasn't handy we just had to wait. I had a kid vomit all over his desk once and the janitor wasn't handy. It had to sit there for awhile. It was nasty.

I feel for you and your dd but I can see why the school wouldn't clean her up. There is too much fear about being sued. Even my dd's preschool is very strict about accidents. When my ds was there he had an accident. He could get his clothes off but he had trouble getting clean pants on. It took him a very long time. The teacher couldn't help. She could only talk him through it. He was only three at the time. We spent weeks then working on putting on pants and underpants so he wouldn't have any more problems.


There must be different standards for different school districts or states. One of my personal training clients is a teacher in special education and she has some teenage kids who are in diapers and she changes teenage poop.


These things would be written in their IEPs so the teacher or aide can change those diapers.


Melissa

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Posted: 11/14/2012 1:59:07 PM
Wow. Just wow.

I see both sides, but as I'm reading all the responses my heart just hurts.

In other words: Unless it's specifically stated on a piece of paper, my child would have to sit in his own whatever (poop, vomit) until I got there. Regardless of the size of mess, or the acidity thereof. I'm horrified.

I get the sue-happy part. Even at the doctor's office a nurse comes in whenever I'm undressed, quite often even when my toddler is undressed and I'm present. But still. I just read an article about how our schools are more like prisons, and I'm realizing it's not as far out as I thought.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 4:00:08 PM
My dd had that happen at school in 1st grade - I got their in 15 minutes - all driving time - no delay. When I got there she was cleaned up and in some used clothing they keep in the nurses office for such incidents. Dd cleaned herself up - thus still needing a shower when she got home- as I imagine they aren't allowed to help them in the restroom? But at least they gave her clean clothes and bagged up the dirty ones. They just ask that patents wash the clothing in hot water and return it back to the office for others. Your poor baby! My dd was uncomfortable and horrified and she was able to change. I would think given your dds disabilities that extra help - even bathroom help could be accommodated?


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Posted: 11/14/2012 4:54:18 PM
With a school, unlike a day care, there might be a policy of not having adults removing clothing from the children. If Sydney has an aide, would that person be able to clean her up if it should ever happen again?

It seems like (to me) if a school can accomodate a child needing special care that being prepared to handle body fluids should be built into the program. I'd try to work out a way this doesn't happen again.

I really can understand the nurse's reluctance, in that she might then be touching other children and transfer the cause of Sydney's difficulty to someone else.

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PeaNut

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July 2012
Posts: 349
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Posted: 11/14/2012 5:15:18 PM
At my school the teachers clean the child and change his/her clothes. Parents are asked to keep a change of clothes at school.
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Typical Liberal

PeaNut 221,236
August 2005
Posts: 21,421
Layouts: 67
Loc: Houston

Posted: 11/14/2012 5:18:33 PM
I have the same parent vs. teacher response as others - as a parent, I would be very upset. As a teacher, I would never undress a child.

I know we have special needs students at our school who wear diapers and their aides change them, but as someone mentioned above, the necessity for that is written into their IEPs and the parents have signed forms giving school personnel permission to undress/touch them for that reason.



littlefish
Peain' in the Pool

PeaNut 78,065
March 2003
Posts: 16,919
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Loc: Sunshine State

Posted: 11/14/2012 5:31:25 PM
Our nurse is not allowed to do anything along those lines unless it is explicitly a part of a child's IEP. Also, the janitors are the only ones with access to the cleaning materials necessary to handle body fluids. I'm not even technically allowed to have the hand sanitizer that's on my desk. And don't ask about the contraband Lysol wipes in the closet.

I do think the school could have helped walk her through helping get herself cleaned up (and you may want to consider sending her with an extra set of clothes in her backpack given her age and delays).


Julie

**JoJam**
Peace Out Girl Scout

PeaNut 80,420
April 2003
Posts: 10,031
Layouts: 75
Loc: monitoring lucy

Posted: 11/14/2012 5:43:22 PM
There have been times at my school where there were not any extra clothes for children--so anyone who had an accident had to sit and wait in soiled clothes for the parent to come.


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CynthiaH
PeaNut

PeaNut 201,886
April 2005
Posts: 89
Layouts: 7
Loc: Beautiful B.C.

Posted: 11/14/2012 5:51:58 PM
I haven't had a chance to read everyones responses but let me tell you this would NOT fly at my DD school. In fact I was helping out the other week and one of the kindergarteners comnpletely wet herself in the gym. Two classes were in there playing, so her teacher was up in the class and not there. I took her to the teacher who proceeded to clean her up. The teacher was very gentle in dealing with the situation, not embarrasing the kids at all. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around a child being left to sit in it. Even the bathroom too. Our school would have had it cleaned up right away.
So sorry this happened to yhou and your daughter. I would certainly write the teacher and the administration a strongly worded letter. It wouldn't even matter if she got a rash or not, they should ahve cleaned her up and made her comfortable.
Even as I type I can feel my blood pressure going up about this. So sorry this happened. If this is the school policy it is completely out of line!

KAK22
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 254,883
March 2006
Posts: 2,887
Layouts: 0

Posted: 11/14/2012 6:39:51 PM
At the school where I teach we can NOT assist children in any way with the bathroom. Even a child with and IEP would need to go to a self-contained class for toileting help. If a student ends up in the office like your DD, unfortunately they would be told to try and clean it up themselves or wait. It sucks, but those are the times we live in.

We would also need to wait for a custodian to come clean up the bathroom with the appropriate cleaners.





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