School officials on Tuesday cleared a science teacher who was accused of forcing a 14-year-old boy to urinate into a bottle during class, saying the eighth grader acted on his own.
The district cited rules that instruct teachers not to let students out of class during the first and last 10 minutes of a period. Goethe Middle School teacher Peter Stanzler told the boy, Michael Patterson, to wait until the class had settled down before going to the bathroom, the district said in a statement.
“Less than five minutes into the class period, the student urinated into a bottle and discarded it in a trash can,” the statement said. “Shocked at the student’s actions, the teacher told the student to dispose of the bottle in the restroom and wash his hands.”
The student claims he repeatedly asked to use the bathroom and was told to relieve himself into a bottle about 20 to 30 minutes into the period. He said the teacher threatened him with suspension if he left the classroom, although the district disputed that in its statement.
Michael Patterson is black and Stanzler is white. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has described the incident as a civil rights issue and, along with Jacko, demanded that the teacher be fired. It also wants school officials to rescind Patterson’s suspension.
Stanzler has said race was not a factor in his decision to keep Patterson in class.