PARENTS
01/17/2014 10:06 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

School Makes Kids Pay To Pee, Outrages Parents

Paying to pee?

An Oregon elementary school came under fire this week after one parent objected to a policy requiring students in some classrooms to "pay" to use the bathroom during class. (The policy has since been revoked.)

Melissa Dalebout, the mother of first-grader Lily, told local news outlet KATU that her daughter had an accident recently at Cascades Elementary School because she didn't want to use her "Super Pro" bucks to go the bathroom.

The bucks were a form of fake money that children at the Lebanon, Ore., school earned for good behavior. Bucks that weren't spent on bathroom breaks were redeemable for toys at the school store.

"I just feel my children should not be punished for having to use the bathroom," Dalebout told KATU.

Mommyish blogger Maria Guido wondered if this type of policy might send the wrong message to kids.

"I don’t want my child to develop strange bathroom habits because teachers have him on a bathroom rewards program," Guido wrote. "Not okay. I understand rewarding good behavior, but this bathroom break policy does not sit well with me. If my child wet his pants because of this, I would be pissed."

Cascades Principal Tami Volz told KATU that the Super Pro payment plan, as well as strategies where excessive bathroom users lost part of their recess time, were imperative for classroom management.

This made sense to Cafe Mom's Jenny Erikson.

"The kids aren’t being 'punished,'" Erikson, the mother of an elementary student, argues. "They’re being given consequences for their poor decisions. They’re still allowed to use the restroom whenever they want, but they have to give something up if they want to interrupt class time to do it. Seems legit."

KATU's Problem Solver team checked around and discovered that other schools in the area use similar strategies. In fact, schools around the country have implemented similar programs, with mixed results. Last year, for example, a first-grader at J.O. Davis Elementary in Texas peed his pants after running out of the fake money required to use the bathroom, according to NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. The policy was eventually stopped.

Facing Dalebout's compliant, Cascade Elementary has also backed down and agreed to discontinue the Super Pro payment system, according to KATU.

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