Working at an international school, I have been trained for fires, earthquakes. Hostage Takeovers. But what if a student gets stuck in the bathroom?

It was photo day and my class was right after the snapping of pictures. Mars’ bow tie was next to the crayons. Albert’s jacket was on the back of his chair. But Yael’s kitty cat ears? They were missing. Where was she? Daisy, who’s had just lost her two front teeth, came running into my classroom, her hair still perfectly curled,

Yael’s thuck in the bathroom!”

“She’s stuck?” I repeated.

The stall was not one you could crawl easily under or over. Not that you would ever want to crawl on the floor of a girls’ bathroom in a Chinese school.

This was not one of the topics covered in the Teacher’s Handbook. Granted, there are footnotes regarding skirt lengths, late homework, grading policies, pre-approved absences, use of cell phones, English-only expectations, temperature checks, and face mask mandates. Detentions. in-school suspensions, grade requirements for extra-curricular activities, procedures for ordering new classroom equipment as well as what to do if the time clock doesn’t recognize your thumb scan. And of course, what forms to file in triplicate in case of any of the aforementioned.

But nothing whatever on thuck thudents.

It was a good thing I ignored the guideline about cell phone usage that day, article four section three. In case of a school emergency, your phone is critical. Not only do you need your cell phone to message for help, it’s needed to document everything you did in the dreaded paperwork.

How long was the child locked in the restroom? When did help arrive? When did you arrive? And why was a child allowed to use the restroom alone?

The time stamps created by calls and texts were critical in the paperwork.

Along with calling the Maintenance Guy (1:34 PM), I messaged the teacher’s chat group– usually saved for birthday greetings–(1:35 PM) as I needed to locate the girl’s older sister.

Next, another text to find the school counselor. Then to snap a few photos of the rescue mission. (1:43 PM)

The next day, I awarded the crying kitty, who was now a perky reindeer, with a medal of bravery. As for my phone? I gave it a day off.

What crazy rules are in your school student handbook?

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