Some parents are upset after their children told them toilet paper, paper towels, soap and hand sanitizer were removed from the bathrooms at East Jones Elementary School.
“I would not want that option as an adult,” said Rebecca Fleming, a parent. “I wouldn’t want to go to a manager and ask for toilet paper no more than I expect my 11-year-old daughter to in front of her classmates.”
Fleming said she called East Jones Elementary School Principal Sylvia Busby, when her daughter told her of the situation Wednesday night. Fleming said she was told there had been an issue with students using paper towels and toilet paper to clog toilets and throw on the walls, so the decision was made to remove the supplies completely.
“She stated the budget did not allow her to purchase any more toilet paper this year,” Fleming said. “That’s a concern for me as a taxpayer, where are our funds? And are we spending them appropriately?”
Jones County School Superintendent Tommy Parker said there is no issue with a budget for any schools.
“If someone told you it’s budget issues, they were misinformed or didn’t tell the truth,” Parker said. “I checked that budget yesterday, before I did anything and there is over $10,000 and I think that’s enough to buy tissues…it is not a budget issues, absolutely not.”
Parker said he believed the decision was made in a disciplinary action to solve the bathroom issues, but said he did not agree with the decision.
“For anybody to have to go to the teacher and ask for tissue, that’s really unreasonable to have to do that,” Parker said.
Tiffany Muraca’s nephew, Haystin, is in the fifth grade at East Jones Elementary. Muraca said Haystin was reprimanded by teachers Friday about a video she posted on Facebook of him talking about the situation.
“It’s disgusting,” Muraca said. “They are kids, they are scared to ask for toilet paper, and then I’ve seen on Facebook where other parents are going to send toilet paper because they don’t want their kids to have to walk up to the front of the class to ask. Kids are kids, you know they snicker when a little boy says he needs to go to the bathroom.”
Haystin said many kids stopped using the bathroom, because they did not want to ask for toilet paper. Fleming said she feels that is happening with many students.
“My daughter, as well as some others, have decided it’s better to not use the restroom at school,” Fleming said. “Then I have to worry about health issues of holding their bowel and bladder until they get home, all because of the process that’s been put in place.”
Parker said he alerted the school staff to change the process when he received calls from parents Thursday. Parker said Principal Busby is on a school-sponsored field trip, but he will speak with her about the decision after spring break, which is next week.
“I was surprised by it,” Parker said. “Over the years, we have learned the things you just have to do for children in schools.”
Parker said the schools are all equipped with surveillance cameras, so it would be easy to spot the students making the mess in the bathrooms.
“Anybody that has to go to the teacher and ask for tissue, that’s really unreasonable to have to do that,” Parker said.