Hall-pass crackdown at Denfeld riles some students, parents

New measures at Denfeld High School designed to limit the time students spend outside class prompted some angry social media posts last week suggesting it restricted students from accessing restrooms.

“No more permission to pee,” read a graphic accompanying some of the posts on Facebook.

Denfeld Principal Tonya Sconiers was not available for comment this week, but said via email the school does not have a new lavatory policy.

“We did implement measures that limit passes/students being outside of their rooms during class time,” Sconiers wrote. “Students are able to use the restroom during class and seek medical attention if needed and we have a procedure they must follow.”

A robocall message was sent to parents of students last week, which reads as follows:

Good Evening. This is an important message from Denfeld High.

This is Tonya Sconiers, principal. I would like to share with families a measure we implemented at Denfeld today to ensure students maximize student participation, engagement and learning. We have placed more adults in the hallways to promote students getting to class on time and to increase the time that students are in their classroom. Students are allowed to leave class for emergencies regarding health expeditiously. At no time are students denied the opportunity to go to the restroom or seek medical attention. Please touch base with me via phone call at ext. 1928 or by email at tonya.sconiers @ isd709.org if you have questions. Have a great evening.

On Sept. 26 Emily Rose, parent of a Denfeld student, posted a Facebook status about her concerns with Denfeld’s new measures. The post has more than 1,000 shares.

Rose explained to Perfect Duluth Day via Facebook messenger how the new measures work. Students are expected to use the restroom in between classes. If a student needs to use the restroom [during class] they are expected to inform their teacher, get approval, then the teacher will call the school’s main office for an escort.

“My daughter said it takes too long for escorts to arrive,” Rose said.

Rose’s Facebook post has more than 200 comments, many from outraged parents and students who seem concerned there might be other motives to the new measures.

“The school hasn’t given an explanation to parents. I find the entire thing outrageous,” said Rose. “I don’t think [Sconiers’] explanation makes any sense. I don’t believe that is the reason they’ve taken away bathroom passes. I’ve heard that they are having trouble controlling students in the hallways. But the fact remains is that these kids do not have a reasonable access to a bathroom — particularly the girls who have lines forming for the toilet between classes and have to wait for an escort to arrive.”

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