A schoolgirl was hospitalised with constipation after her school’s toilet roll policy left her “anxious” and unable to use the toilet.
Kitchener Road Primary in Cardiff has a policy where they do not have toilet paper in the cubicles. Instead, the children, aged four to 11, must take what they think they need from a tissue dispenser before going in.
The school introduced this policy to avoid blocking the toilets. However, if the children do not have enough they have to go out of the cubicle to get more.
A four-year-old girl was admitted to hospital for three days last month and diagnosed with constipation after suffering “agonising” stomach pains.
Her mother, Fahmin Khanum, said “she was not clearing her bowels properly in school because of the toilet paper policy.”
The child, who is in reception, was so worried about not taking enough paper into the cubicle that she was not relieving herself when she needed to at school.
Her mother called the experience “traumatic” and said she had never suffered from constipation previously.
“My daughter is quite independent from going to day nurseries before starting school in September and she was potty trained at two and half and had not had problems before.”
At a parents evening, Fahmin asked the headteacher about the policy after seeing her daughter count out five sheets of tissue before using the toilet. The Headteacher said it was “so that children don’t block the toilets using too much toilet paper.”
Fahmin said her daughter was getting anxious using the toilet at home and school as a result. She has soiled herself at least once at school because she didn’t take in enough paper first time.
“Last Monday when I went to collect my daughter the teacher told me she had soiled herself.”
Her daughter had run out of toilet paper in the cubicle and had to go back out into a public area to get more, leading to her soiling her clothes. She then had to go and “tell a teacher in front of other children.”
Fahmin believes it is a “health and safety issue impacting on children’s welfare and it’s awful for the children’s dignity.”
Fahmin and her husband Afjul Ali have written a formal letter of complaint to the school’s head teacher Ruth Jackson.
Following her complaint the school has now said it has reviewed its policy.
A spokeswoman from the school said: “We have reviewed our policy and will soon be installing dispensers in all our cubicles. We will be contacting parents shortly to let them know of the change.”