Protesting pupils are demanding an apology from their new head teacher over a controversial ban on toilet breaks during lesson times.
Just three weeks after taking the reins at Perth Grammar School, Fiona Robertson is facing an angry backlash from pupils and parents who claim youngsters’ human rights are being breached.
Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition, calling on the school to reverse its policy and stop locking up toilets during classes.
In the petition, signed Students of Perth Grammar School, youngsters claim that the toilets are not being reopened at intervals and over lunchtime.
They also alleged that one pupil was left “emotionally scarred” after being caught short as he tried to get into a locked toilet.
But Miss Robertson told The Courier she was re-enforcing an already well-established school policy. The aim is to crack down on pupils skiving off classes.
She said: “All we have done is re-emphasise what has always been school policy.
“The situation is that all young people have access to a toilet if they need to go to one. It’s not a policy that the new head teacher is putting in place, but I have reiterated it.”
She said she will speak to pupils and parents about the issue in the coming days.
“If there are any changes we need to make to this policy which has worked for the school for so long, then we will make them.”
Miss Robertson has also had to quash “inappropriate and completely unnecessary” posts on social media.
In a school newsletter, she has asked parents to “remind young people of their responsibilities” while using Facebook and Twitter.
In their post on the influential change.org website, young petitioners wrote: “The motive behind this idiocy seems sensible.(Miss Robertson) does not approve of the number of people being excused from class and fears people may ‘hide’ in bathrooms to prevent going to subjects they dislike and fair enough, this does happen.
“However, preventing us from one of our basic human rights is not the way to solve the problem.”
One parent said he had told his daughter to walk home to use the loo.
A council spokesman said: “There has been an ongoing issue with a large number of pupils asking to be excused from during class time. The head teacher has taken steps to reinforce the school’s existing policy that pupils should not be out during class time unless under exceptional circumstances.
“We will work with the school’s staff, pupils and parents to ensure that everyone understands the policy and how it is being implemented.”