How are Schools Failing Their Children with Crohn’s?

It’s about one month into school starting and the morning routine is starting to feel and look all too familiar.

A family scramble, and my voice echoes the same commands every single morning:

Brush your teeth.

Put your shoes on.

Grab your book bag.

As we hustle to the bus stop, the same group of parents huddle around the other kids already buzzing with the morning chit chat.

The morning resembles any other day except that Linda, the “bus stop hugger” (that bright and cheery momma who gives everyone a hug), has her arms folded tight against her chest and is alarmingly quiet. Too quiet.

Village People

Linda’s son has been struggling with Crohn’s disease and a cycle of symptoms that include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Tired and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abscesses and fistulas
  • Swollen joints, mouth ulcers, and eye problems

It takes a whole village to raise a family, and living in a family-oriented neighborhood provides that comfort and security of helping Linda and her husband Ben, raise their child with Crohn’s disease.

We’re all in this together. Source:

Our neighborhood group knows that Linda and Ben’s child has Crohn’s disease, and Linda’s always sharing cautionary playdate pointers, such as, “Please don’t feed him; I’ll pack his own snacks and send them over when he comes to play.”

These parents are open and honest about their son’s disease, and it isn’t far-fetched for our whole group to be enjoying a Saturday family night together with pizza and Pinterest, talking about helpful tips for children with Crohn’s disease:

  • Healthy diet cheat sheets
  • Essential oils
  • Yoga poses

Some people talk politics. We talk Pinterest. It’s safer.

Venting Session

It doesn’t take too much prodding to get Linda to vent her frustrations about the teachers and how they treat her son’s Crohn’s disease.

  • When did going to the bathroom at school become a privilege versus a necessity?
  • Why does my kid have to contend with bathroom trip tally charts? Bathroom sign out sheets? Bathroom passes?
  • Who the hell gives a child a timer for a visit to the bathroom?
  • Don’t even get me started on all the bullshit incentives for a child to NOT use the bathroom: Extra credit points? Homework coupons?
  • When did classroom management or the importance of the educational experience take precedence over a basic human need?
  • Why is it necessary to lock the bathrooms at lunch? Really?
  • Why must teachers punish or shame a child for having to go to the bathroom?
  • I’m sorry that there are probably a few students who may take advantage of not having bathroom breaks micro-managed, but why penalize the masses over the few?
  • Why do I have to advocate for a 504 plan for my child so he can use the bathroom when he needs and for how long he needs?

Linda was pissed and on a roll.

Any of us at the bus stop that morning could have chimed in at any point, but it was clear she was on a rhetorical vent. And rightfully so.


We all showed Linda our support that morning. The insensitive policies and procedures may come with the best intentions, but why are such embarrassing or absurd regulations really needed?

Why force parents like Linda and Ben, parents who are just trying to provide a normal life for their child living with Crohn’s disease, to such lengths of doctor’s notes and lawful regulatory individualized educational plans to gain simple but mindful flexibility for their child?

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