Published May 01, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – School officials on Monday suspended a 14-year-old boy who said he had to urinate in a bottle after his science teacher refused to let him use the restroom. The teacher was being transferred to another school.
"I can't believe they don't believe me," student Michael Patterson said in a telephone interview after he was given the five-day suspension. "I have no reason to lie. What I said happened, happened."
The suspension notice said he was barred from class until May 8 for "relieving himself in the classroom, which caused a school disruption."
Patterson said he went into a corner of the classroom on Tuesday and urinated into an empty Gatorade bottle after his teacher repeatedly refused to give him a pass to use the restroom and threatened to have him suspended if he left the classroom.
"He said, 'Do what you got to do,"' Patterson said. "I said, 'I've got a bottle' and he said, 'Go in the corner.' So I just handled my business."
The teacher, Peter Stanzler, has been placed on paid leave and was being transferred from Goethe Middle School to another school, said Marcus Walton, a spokesman for the Sacramento school district. He said officials were finishing up an investigation Monday.
Stanzler, reached by telephone late Monday, said that news accounts of the incident have been one-sided, but that he was advised by his principal and union not to discuss it.
"I can confirm one thing," he said. "It was not a race issue whatsoever."
The boy's mother, Kelly Jacko, and the local chapter of the NAACP have demanded that the district fire him. Patterson is black and Stanzler is white, but Jacko said she had had no indication that the incident was related to race.
Jacko said she didn't know what recourse she had to protest the suspension, which begins Tuesday. "I don't know what it is I can do," she said. "I'm kind of caught off guard."