Potty rule flushed! Coney principal kills program that rewards kids for holding it in

The contest: School offers prizes if kids hold it in
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

When you gotta go, you gotta go!

The principal of a Coney Island elementary school has put the kibosh on a controversial potty policy that rewarded kids who went all week without using the bathroom — just two days after the city denied the program’s existence.

Yesterday, PS 90 Principal Greta Hawkins told students in Stephanie Warner’s fifth grade class that they wouldn’t be issued three bathroom passes a week any longer, and that no one was participating in the contest in which kids received prizes if they still had all of their vouchers on Friday.

“She let the children know that the policy is over,” Sandra Leon, who has a 10-year-old in the class, told us.

But when we broke the story just two days ago, the city denied that Warner had instituted her plan, claiming that kids could use the bathroom whenever they needed.

“There is no policy that limits bathroom breaks,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg, who claims the principal had no knowledge of any such rule, even though Warner had sent Hawkins a detailed email about it. “There is no policy where a child gets a prize for not using a pass.”

Feinberg did not respond to three messages seeking comment about yesterday’s developments.

A parent and a PS 90 teacher confirmed that Warner was not in class on Wednesday or Thursday, leading some to wonder if the Department of Education had disciplined her over the piddle program. Calls to Warner were not returned.

The wee wee rule was put in place last Friday after Warner complained that students were taking too many trips to the loo. The voucher rule, she said, was her only hope.

“I can’t think of anything else that would solve this problem,” Warner wrote in an email obtained by this paper, requesting some relief from her student’s never ending potty breaks. “I am exasperated with the constant bathroom needs.”

Warner’s plan was simple: students in the class got three bathroom vouchers a week. If a student needed to use the facilities, a voucher was handed over. Warner handed out stickers and pencils to students who had all three of their vouchers on Friday.

“If the procedures are not followed properly, [the students] will receive a note home,” Warner wrote, adding that the children “must go at some point during lunch or recess.”

But parents say PS 90’s wee wee protocol was dangerous.

“You’re giving to give [our kids] bladder problems and they’re going to be wetting themselves during class,” Luz Lozada, who has a child in the school, told us.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@cnglocal.com or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at twitter.com/dsmacleod.