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Need to use the bathroom during class? At this Colorado school, students must first show their ID.




Asking your teacher if you can step out for a bathroom break during class no longer requires simply raising your hand at Eagle Ridge Academy, a charter school in Brighton, where a new rule mandates that kids present their student ID before dashing to the restroom.

What happens if you forget your ID at home?

You’ll have to wait — and also attend what’s known as Friday school, staying after the last bell of the week to help clean the school, including picking up trash in classrooms and scraping old gum off the bottom of desks.

The school policy has frustrated and confounded students, some of whom say they’re forced to skip a much-needed visit to the bathroom for at least half the school day. Among them is sophomore Ailyn Torres, who particularly worries about female students at Eagle Ridge Academy not being able to use the bathroom when the need arises. Ailyn, 15, started a petition Wednesday that has since gathered more than 250 signatures.

“Girls have a lot of necessities,” she said. “Sometimes we have emergencies, and we’re supposed to just sit there and wait until the bell rings?”

Students are free to use restrooms without first presenting an ID only in the few minutes between classes.

The student ID policy, introduced this semester, is primarily aimed at keeping students safe and curbing a tendency among some students to dawdle in the restroom and even commit vandalism, according to Principal Scott Richardson. 

Students must also show their ID to get their meal at lunch, a half-hour period — which has cut down on the time it takes to serve lunch, Richardson said.

“Going to IDs tremendously reduced the number of students loitering in restrooms, increased responsible and appropriate restroom use, increased the speed of the lunch line, and improved the school’s ability to provide a safe atmosphere for all students,” he wrote in an email to The Colorado Sun.

The school has also reported “a huge decrease” in acts of vandalism in restrooms, he wrote.

Ailyn Torres, a sophomore at Brighton charter school Eagle Ridge Academy, sits outside her home Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Brighton. Ailyn, 15, recently started an online petition that has collected more than 250 signatures protesting a new school policy that mandates students present their IDs before going to the bathroom during class. (Erica Breunlin, The Colorado Sun)

Eagle Ridge Academy, which opened in 2010, launched the bathroom policy as part of the 5 Star Student tracking system that assigns each student a unique barcode. A student’s barcode enables them to scan their ID at events and lunch and helps the school monitor when students attend tutoring, games and student activities, and also reward kids for “positive behaviors,” Richardson wrote.

The school had recorded an uptick in the number of kids loitering in bathrooms to the extent that some students confronted administrators “stating that we needed to do something to help them eliminate the loitering so that they could appropriately use the facilities,” Richardson wrote.

Now, students’ IDs also act as hall passes to run to the bathroom during class. Students approach a Chromebook and scanner in their classroom and scan the barcode on their ID before leaving. When they return, they also scan their barcode to indicate they’re back in class.

The school put the rule into effect through “a slow rollout process” and notified students and families of the new plans through multiple emails, Richardson wrote.

“Probably the most important part for us as a school is the safety piece,” he added. “God forbid anything ever happens here, but we now have the capability to know exactly which students are out of the classroom or building ensuring better communication with emergency services during an emergency or with parents during the reunification process.”


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But teens say the new bathroom rule has also made the periods between classes much trickier for the school’s 550 high school students, who share four girls’ restrooms, four boys’ restrooms and one bathroom that is designated as all gender.

Bathrooms have become extra crowded during the five-minute breaks between classes, with long lines forming and “preventing some from using the bathroom for several hours,” Ailyn wrote in the Petition.

Richardson called that “an inaccurate statement,” insisting that since student IDs became hall passes, lines have dwindled “as students are no longer loitering in the restrooms, preventing those that have to use the facilities from doing so.”

Ailyn said one day last week about four hours passed before she could use the bathroom.