Girl refused bathroom pass may sue teacher BY SOFIA SANTANA firstname.lastname@example.org An attorney for a Ponce de Leon Middle School student has filed notice to sue the girl's math teacher and Miami-Dade County Public Schools because the girl says her teacher refused to let her use the bathroom and forced her to have a bowel movement in class. The suit seeks unspecificed damages for humiliation that seventh-grader Sophia Gutierrez said she suffered, Coral Gables attorney Jason Setchen said. Sophia, 14, says she had a stomach ache April 24, but her teacher, Edwin Victor-Louis, did not give her a bathroom pass. Sophia says she asked several times and told Victor-Louis it was an emergency. Sophia also says Victor-Louis humiliated her in front of the class by saying: ``If you can't hold it, you should be wearing Pampers.'' MOTHER FURIOUS Sophia's mother, Judith Gutierrez, was furious when she heard her daughter's story. She says she wanted Victor-Louis to make a personal apology to Sophia in front of the class. But that never happened, the family says. Gutierrez went to the school and talked to one of the vice principals, demanding the school apologize as well. Her request was not taken seriously, she said. ''I was totally upset by this,'' Gutierrez said. ``My daughter has never had a conduct problem. The teacher had no reason not to believe her if she said she needed to use the bathroom for an emergency.'' Officials with the United Teachers of Dade say that Victor-Louis, a union member, will be defended by school district attorneys even if she also is named individually in the suit. Victor-Louis did not return phone calls seeking comment. FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE Sophia, who had a B average for academics and A's and B's in conduct on her last report card, says she has been uncomfortable at the school since the incident and has missed more than 12 days. School officials say that Victor-Louis, who has been teaching for more than two years, has a complaint-free record. Ponce principal Manuel Garcia says teachers at Ponce can give bathroom passes during class at their own discretion and for emergencies. He added that some teachers are more strict with passes because some students use them as an excuse to get out of class. ''If the parents prevail, it could force the district to become more responsive to parents,'' said Bernard Perlmutter, director of the Children and Youth Law Clinic at the University of Miami Law School. ``[A student suing their teacher] isn't unprecedented. I've never heard of a case like this in Miami-Dade, but we're the fourth-largest school district, so I wouldn't be surprised if it has happened before.''