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Parents are going ballistic over a UK school's "inhumane" toilet policy, with some even shelling out £22 for a toilet pass.
Marine Academy Plymouth (MAP) have banned pupils from going to the loo during lessons, insisting they should go before or after school or at breaks.
They have said they'll issue a toilet pass if there is a "medical necessity" or in certain other cases discussed with parents. The move has even led to some forking out for a doctors' note.
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There have reportedly been instances of girls being left embarrassed during their periods. Parents have reacted furiously, reports PlymouthLive.
Carol Courage claims her daughter, 12, has been refused the bathroom on several occasions when desperate, and blames the "inhumane" policy for her developing urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Carol's daughter has found herself in detention for ignoring the rules.
Dawn Shepard and Trevor Joyce, parents of another 12-year-old girl, said their daughter has also had UTIs.
Both girls' parents say they paid £22 for a doctor's note, which allowed them to get a toilet pass from MAP.
Carol told PlymouthLive: "Even if the girls are on their monthlies or anything and need to use the toilet, even if they say they’re going to leak, they’re not allowed to go.
"It’s inhumane not to let them use the toilet. It’s not just me who thinks this."
Carol shared a post in a MAP Facebook parent group where she received around 100 responses from others, agreeing the restrictions cause "discomfort".
She added: "It’s got to the point where if my daughter wants to use the toilet, I have said to her to just walk out of the lesson and use the toilet.
"She is then put into a compass – a form of detention – for the whole day and then gets half-an-hour detention after school.
"I have had to get a doctor's letter which then costs you £22.
"I'm not the only parent who has had to pay that."
Carol contacted Ofsted and claims they said it is down to the school to enforce its own policies.
According to the NHS website, a symptom of UTIs is "needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual".
The prevention section for UTIs reads: "Do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go."
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Dawn and Trevor said their daughter dreads going to school due to the policy.
"They should have something in place for girls," they said. "Also, to get a doctor's note for our daughter, it takes ages due to the NHS waiting lists.
"The biggest thing on her mind is not being able to use the toilets while she has the infection. She has the toilet pass now which means she can go – but still has to have permission and wait.”
Leigh Withers, Principal of MAP, said: "As in all schools, the welfare and safety of our students is always our first priority. Students can use the toilet at the start of day, break time, between lesson transition, lunchtime and after school.
"If there is a medical necessity to use the toilet at other times we discuss each case with parents to ensure the best support plan is in place and this may include a toilet pass. Also we do not have unisex toilets.
"We will be welcoming our largest ever cohort of Year 7s which is a testament to the excellent education and care students receive here at Marine Academy.
"As a school we have had to expand our allowed number of entries to fit the demand of parents who seek a school with high expectations, an academic focus and the clarity of vision which at its heart, states that every child who joins Marine Academy should have the opportunity to go to university when they leave."
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