Fourth grader forced to scrub school toilets for tardies

4:52 AM, Oct 6, 2011   |    comments
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HOUSTON -- Parents of some students at the Harmony Science Academy Charter School in Northwest Harris County say their children were forced to clean restrooms as punishment.

Monica Lane said her daughter, Meagan, a fourth grade student at the school, was punished to Saturday school for getting five tardies. However, Lane said Meagan did not get not extra time in the classroom, but got time in the restroom.

"Yeah it was gross," said Meagan Dunn.

She was not alone, her mother said. 

"Kids, as young as second grade, were scrubbing the toilets on Saturday," Lane said. "The baseboards and walls, and the door handles and the floors." 

Meagan said the cleaning duties were done using just a disinfectant wipe and no gloves.

Administrators at the Harmony Science Academy issued a statement on the matter saying: 

"Never under any circumstances is any student required or expected to clean the restrooms at any of our facilities."

The school said it encourages students to do chores to help them to care for their community. The school admitted that students did clean restrooms, but said it was just an inappropriate joke from a teacher taken literally by some students.

"How would you feel as a parent if your child was made to scrub the toilet without any kind of gloves, without any parent knowledge," Lane asked.

Beside the obvious cleanliness issues, Meagan's parents wondered about the lost educational opportunity.

"That could have been a time for tutoring or going over some of the class work or something like that," said Lane.

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