Stephanie Warner Awards Prizes For Those With Infrequent Restroom Use

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn elementary school teacher has come up with a controversial idea to get her children to hold it in.

She’s trying to keep them at their desks and off the toilet, but some say it goes too far.

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Denisse Corona is a fifth grader at P.S. 90 in Coney Island. She said her teacher, Stephanie Warner, decided to hand out prizes to students who didn’t use their bathroom passes.

“They’re just little tiny toys, like erasers, pencils, rulers,” Denisse said.

The little girl said she and her classmates would get three passes at the beginning of the week to use the bathroom. Her teacher then laid out rules on a sign at the front of the classroom. If they still had passes at the end of the week, the students were rewarded.

“Lots of kids are holding because they want to get a prize,” Denisse said.

But holding it can lead to medical problems, according to one parent, who has an autistic son in the class.

“It’s not fair to the children. Mine has a bladder problem so three times a week is not cutting it,” Sandra Leon said.

The idea for the plan was to get students to voluntarily take fewer bathroom breaks.

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“Because some kids just go for fun. They just want to skip class,” Denisse said.

Another teacher at the school said the plan stinks.

“They want to discourage the children from missing instruction for whatever reason, but if you have to go, you have to go. I have to go to the bathroom,” said Vicky Giasemis, who is also a union representative.

Giasemis also teaches fifth grade at P.S. 90. She said last year she had three students urinate on themselves.

And the Department of Education issued a statement late Wednesday saying: “There is no school policy. Apparently, one teacher took it upon herself to enact a limit. The principal says she has put a stop to this.”

One parent told CBS 2 the principal is doing the right thing by reversing the policy.

“Believe me, if you mistreat my child, you mistreat me. If my child came home and told me he had to go to the bathroom and he was not allowed, trust me, it wouldn’t go well,” Delores Vann said.

The Department of Education said individual teachers in classrooms decide who goes to the bathroom and when.

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