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Posted at 6:34 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Grow up, Arlington County

By Kim A. O'Connell, Arlington

I was dismayed to read how the Arlington County Public Schools treated Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso and her daughter Zoe ["Girl's suspension a sign of the times for potty training," front page, Jan. 30]. As an Arlington resident, I am keenly aware of the budget restrictions and staffing shortages that this county faces. At the same time, I know that Arlington celebrates its diversity, its progressive approach and its high educational ideals. To bar a developmentally normal child from attending school simply because of an inconvenient (and surely temporary) challenge with potty training is, quite simply, inhumane, unjust and counter to all the things I thought this county stood for.

Clearly Zoe's parents were doing everything they could to work with the system and encourage their child. Arlington County did not meet that level of effort.

By Kim A. O'Connell, Arlington  | February 2, 2011; 6:34 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington, day care, education, schools  
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Comments

"To bar a developmentally normal child from attending school simply because of an inconvenient (and surely temporary) challenge with potty training is, quite simply, inhumane, unjust and counter to all the things I thought this county stood for. "

If schools could not require that all students be potty trained before attending school, schools would soon be responsible, to the delight of parents, for potty training the students. Is that what we want our tax dollars spent for? What other parent responsibilities do we want to force upon schools; clothing the student, bathing them, feed them (some schools already do that), tuck them into bed at night? Maybe we should just get use to shipping 5 yr olds off to school and not have them return home until they graduate from high school.

Posted by: ahashburn | February 3, 2011 5:25 AM | Report abuse

"I know that Arlington celebrates its diversity, its progressive approach and its high educational ideals."

Ms./Mr. O'Connell: the kid in question poops her pants. A teacher has to take time of out her day, and time from other students, to deal with the poop. How does forcing teachers to function as underwear cleaner and tush wipers promote any of what you think Arlington does or should "promotes"? Is a "progressive approach" to force a teacher to clean up feces? Does that promote "diversity" (unless "diversity" means including both the potty trained and the non-potty trained in classes)? A teacher spending her time in the bathroom rinsing out a child's soiled underpants is a "high educational ideal"?

Stop throwing around meaningless, nice-sounding words and get a grip on real life. When the little girl is fully potty-trained, she can return to school. End of non-controversy.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 3, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Betsy Rosso’s “Potty Manifesto” is a smoke screen for being pissed off b/c she was inconvenienced and still had to shell out $835. She didn’t have to shut down her business, work at night, you’re a writer! Arlington County Schools (APS) provides a public education to children who reside in the county from kindergarten through 12th grade. APS does NOT provide free schooling to children under the age of 5. The montessori program is an OPTION PEOPLE but one must pay a sliding scale tuition based on income. If you are saying that the montessorri program should be more compassionate to the normal development of 3-5yr olds, they are! They allow for 8 accidents in a month and Zoe exceeded that. We as Arlington taxpayers have NOT allocated the funding for additional staffing and facilities necessary for potty-training a child. Don’t make it the fault of the program. Bottomline: Betsy rolled the dice and lost and now wants to change the policy b/c of her own very individual, temporary inconvenience. You know what that will do if APS has to change their potty-training rule to allow for more “diversity”? It will cost those who want into the program. They can thank Betsy. I still can’t get over that fact that she used her kid’s real name.

Posted by: chinnymcchipstah | February 3, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Great comment, WashingtonDame. This letter to the editor was complete drivel.

Posted by: capsfan77 | February 3, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

WashingtonDame, nowhere in the article does it say that Zoe "poops her pants". Why don't you get a grip on reality? And before you and ahashburn impose your morally superior judgment on the situation, consider the teacher's role in this. A responsible, caring educator does not announce "in front of everyone how many accidents the child had that day" at pickup time. NOT the way to handle the situation. Being familiar with the family, the child was potty trained, but the pressure and stress of the classroom affected her. I can imagine the teacher coming down hard on a 3-year-old for a classroom accident if she's willing to humiliate her in front of her peers and parents at pickup time.
Hopefully, neither of you are subject to the harsh judgment that you feel so freely to impose on others.

Posted by: considerthesource | February 3, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse


Considerthesource said:
"A responsible, caring educator does not announce "in front of everyone how many accidents the child had that day" at pickup time. NOT the way to handle the situation."

Actually, that was not the school where the child was asked to leave. That was the school BEFORE Claremont - probably the school Ms. Rosso should be going after, instead of the one with CLEAR rules about potty training.

And sorry, considerthesource, having accidents > 40% of the time (8 accidents out of 20 school days) is NOT potty trained. You fail.

Posted by: jj11232 | February 3, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I very much believe in inclusivity. At the same time, it is a disservice to include children who need extra resources, without being able to provide those needed extra resources.

There are laws and regulations regarding child to adult ratios in childcare facilities. When one teacher is constantly off in the bathroom cleaning up accidents or trying to potty-train a child, this compromises the ratio for the rest of the children. It's not uncommon for preschools to require that children three and older be potty-trained.

Classrooms of two-year-olds, however, have fewer children per adult, *because* two-year-olds need more individual attention, including in the realm of diaper changing and potty training.

I have not been following this particular case closely, but I do hope that the teachers, administrators, and parents worked as a team to try to find a solution for Zoe before simply suspending her.

Posted by: DOEJN | February 3, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm pissed-off (no pun intented) at the way this situation was handled!! Chastising a child for a nautural function
goes back to the Dunce Hat Era!!

Posted by: loiseisenberg | February 3, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Rosso know's her child best. She probably justifies to herself that her child is potty trained since SHE wants her to be and go into the program at Arlington Montessori..this would make it easiest for the mother who essentially goes on with her day to day tasks.... What Mrs. Rosso didn't take into account was what if HER child was NOT ready and what if her child was NOT really potty trained before starting the program. Now what should Mrs. Rosso do. Remember she knows her child best. So what does she do - Blame Montessori! Montessori outline's their policy on potty-training. I find it absolutely absurd when parents say they have no responsibility in the process which needs to be reinforced heavily to help their child. Mrs. Ross's daughter, obviously had a problem with potty training - and her mother's response essentially was - let someone else handle it. No. As a parent it is Mrs. Ross's responsibility to find that program which fits her daughter and her daughter at this stage. Maybe, right now, the Montessori school is not an option for her daughter. A better option would be to get the training and reinforcement she needs one on one. MAYBE Mrs. Ross needs to look into what is best for her child - how can SHE help her child....rather than expect others to literally pick up the mess. I understand that potty training is individual....How about in-home daycare instead of a 8 to 1 ratio? How about finding a nanny or in home care. Then Mrs. Rosso will complain that the cost are too much. Mrs. Ross you are sending your child to Montessori. You are trying to blame others for not taking the responsibility of your child and making her your number one concern. So you have an in home business.....this is your child's biggest need right now hire help to run yoru business so you can help your child through instruction and support! If Mrs. Rosso's child had difficulty learning how to feed herself - would everyone suggest for her to pack her daughter's lunch and drop her off and then say - well its out of my hands if she eats or not??

Its Mrs. Rosso's job as a mother to help her daughter and if that means taking a month off to work with her daughter that is what she should do!

But wait - blaming the daycare provider is so much easier....

Posted by: tropicalgal | February 7, 2011 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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