BUFFALO, New York — Many 3-to-4-year-old students in Buffalo, New York schools are coming to class without being properly potty trained, teachers in the district are now saying.
According to the Buffalo Teachers Federation, teachers and teacher aides often find themselves stepping away from class to change diapers. The union now wants the district to create a specific potty training policy.
"The bottom line on it is, as far as I'm concerned, children should come to school potty trained,” Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, said. “If they're not it's not the kid's fault."
This call stems from a survey of teachers conducted by Rumore, who says there needs to be more guidance from Buffalo Public Schools.
"What do I do? A child soils himself in my class. Who is going to clean the child up and work with the child and the parents? Apparently there is no answer because there is no policy,” Rumore said.
"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 Kuzma said in a statement.
BPS’s current policies and guidelines only include potty training support and education geared toward students with disabilities.
Under current guidelines from the State Education Department, “children who are not toilet trained cannot be excluded from either Pre-K or kindergarten enrollment”. NYSED recommends districts work with families to develop a toilet training plan. You can read more about the guidelines here.