California student forced to urinate in bucket after being denied toilet break wins payout

Hatty Collier
The former student, who was 14 at the time, was told by her teacher to urinate in bucket inside a supply room closet (file photo): Shutterstock

A secondary school student who urinated in a bucket after she was refused a toilet break has won a payout of almost £1 million.

The former student, who was 14 at the time, was told by her teacher to urinate in bucket inside a supply room closet before emptying it in the sink at the school in California.

Her request came during a 25-minute class in which her teacher Gonja Wolf believed bathroom breaks were not permitted at the Patrick Henry High School, lawyers at the state’s Superior Court said.

The teacher claimed she had directed the student to use the supply room closet because she had attempted to find a solution to what she mistakenly though was a strict, no toilet break policy.

A Superior Court jury sided with the former student, who sued the teacher and the San Diego Unified School District over the 2012 incident, and she was awarded a payout of £994,000.

The district had previously rejected the girl’s $25,000 claim, in which she said the incident led to lewd texts, depression and a suicide attempt.

Lawyers for the school and the teacher said she had never intended to embarrass the student and that “in a lapse of judgement, she thought that it was a good idea”.

Brian Watkins, the student’s attorney, said: “Something like this never should have happened to a 14-year-old girl just entering high school.

"She took the stand and told a really embarrassing story. She told the jury how this has affected her life and how she is still working through issues."

The student, who is now 19, said she was forced to move schools over bullying and has therapy to get over post-traumatic stress caused by the incident.

She was awarded an additional £33,000 to cover medical expenses. The teacher was put on paid administrative leave and no longer works at the campus.