Teacher Union Wants Potty Training Policy For New York School District

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A Buffalo, New York, teacher union wants a potty training policy for Buffalo Public Schools (BPS), saying teacher aides are often changing diapers instead of remaining in class.

Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore surveyed teachers a few weeks ago where there were complaints about potty training issues with 3- and 4-year-old children, WIVB reported Tuesday.

Changing diapers often becomes a teacher aide’s responsibility, according to WIVB. The Buffalo Education Support Team, the union representing the teacher aides, said changing diapers was not part of the contract. (RELATED: Public School Teachers Could Be More Disgruntled Than Ever: Survey)

Rumore told The Daily Caller News Foundation over the phone he wants a policy where one or two people from each school would take care of the children who soil themselves. Volunteers cannot be teachers as they are not permitted to leave class.

“This volunteer will have a room where they can go to take the child and to work with the child and also the parents,” Rumore said to TheDCNF.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students cannot be denied public schooling even if they are not toilet trained, according to the New York State Education Department. School districts can work with children and parents struggling with being potty trained.

Pictured is a child holding toilet paper next to a mini toilet. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Iulian Valentin

Pictured is a child holding toilet paper next to a mini toilet. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Iulian Valentin

Volunteers will require certain immunizations. Rumore added that he would also like to have witnesses for the trained personnel.

The potty training problem has been discussed with the district for a year or two, according to Rumore.

“But nothing has really been done to have a district wide policy and procedure so that we can work with the child to make sure that the child does get changed,” Rumore said to TheDCNF.

The Buffalo Education Support Team would take over extra responsibilities if teacher aides were compensated and given the appropriate resources, WIVB reported.

“We’re willing to continue to dialogue with the aides and their representation in the future to hear their concerns and see if we can find common ground,” BPS general counsel Nathaniel J. Kuzma said in a statement given to TheDCNF by Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Public Relations Elena Cala.

Rumore said to TheDCNF he is hoping to have some sort of guideline situated as soon as possible, preferably “within a month or so.”

The issue of children being potty trained comes as politicians consider increased funding for universal pre-K programs. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo devoted $15 million for 3- and 4-year-olds to be able to attend pre-K programs in 2018.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, all Democrats, are some who have supported universal pre-K education, according to the National Education Association.

The Buffalo Education Support Team did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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