Students literally go to the can during school lockdown drill

Charlston Post and Courier | October 16, 2006

The same Charlestowne Academy teacher reprimanded last year for putting a cardboard box around a student as punishment has caused a stir again for allowing students to use a classroom trash can as a toilet.

Philip Frandino gave permission for a total of five male and female fifth-grade students to use a trash can to relieve themselves during a lockdown drill Tuesday that was meant to simulate an intruder entering the school building. All classroom doors were locked, and no one was allowed to leave their classrooms during the drill that lasted less than an hour.

Frandino called the school's main office and told them he had students who needed to use the restroom, said Associate Superintendent Patricia Yandle. It's not clear what he was told to do, but Yandle said he was not directed to have students use the classroom trash can.

Students were not allowed to watch their classmates, and the teacher and other students stood on the opposite side of the classroom and turned their backs while three others stood closer and held up jackets to further shield students from view, Yandle said. She wasn't sure whether the classroom had windows.

"It's not acceptable," she said.

The district has not formally reprimanded the teacher, who was not at school Thursday, because questions remain about what happened, Yandle said.

If it had been an actual lockdown with an intruder in the school and students needed to go to the restroom, Yandle said she would err on the side of encouraging student to think about something other than a bathroom and find ways to occupy their minds.