An American middle school has come under fire after removing all of its bathroom soap dispensers.
A parent of a pupil at the Maryland middle school, Judy Schumate said, â€œYou canâ€™t take soap and water away from 800 kids.â€
Stephen Decatur Middle School (SDMS) responded to students creating mess in the bathrooms by removing soap dispensers from all student bathrooms.
â€œThey started their school year like this,â€ Schumate said.
Parents, worried by the potential health risk of none of the students washing their hands, contacted the Principal Dr. Mel Ross.
The Principal was apparently dismissive and stated that sanitiser dispensers had been installed in hallways of the school. However parents did not feel this was enough to compensate taking soap away from students.
â€œAlcohol gel sanitiser is not the same as soap and water,â€ Schumate said.
The parents argued that punishing all students for a couple of destructive pupils behaviour was sending a negative message â€“ as well as being unhygienic.
Sanitizer in hallways involves students leaving the bathrooms spreading germs to whatever they touch â€“ before they use the sanitizer, if the children remember.
Parents warned that taking soap from children at an important age between their teens and adulthood â€“ could lead to bad habits being picked up for life. Many students said they felt the school had over-reacted, and that they could not be trusted with soap and water was ridiculous.
Eventually parents appealed to the local Health Department and the Board of Education directly.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes said, â€œWe had some parents express some concernsâ€.