Wow. What an interesting read. I'm switching from 7th grade (4 years in it) to 3rd this upcoming school year. I have previously taught 4th. For 7th graders, you cannot have "unrestricted" bathroom access. My first year in 7th grade, I allowed one child out to the restroom at a time for bathroom. It became like a conga line, to the point where the principal told the 7th grade teachers to come up with a way to stop the constant bathroom flow (flow , sorry couldn't help myself). So, we gave each kid 10 passes per 9 weeks to be used during class time in any of their four core classes. The only restriction for use in class was that it could not be used during direct instruction (group work, independent work, projects, warm ups, etc. were okay---which accounts for about 70% of the class time). Passes not used were entered into a drawing for prizes. It's amazing how suddenly the need to pee in class dropped by about 95%. I suppose there is one person who reads this who is going to ask "What is they used them all up?" That only happened a few times. What I did then, was pull the kid out in the hall. I told the student, I'm going to do you a favor, gave the kid a legitimate errand to run, and winked at them and said "don't let it happen again." It didn't happen again. For students with documented medical issues, they were exempt, and someone who was going to throw up or poop themselves, I wrote them a note to the nurse and told them to use the bathroom along the way. For elementary kids, however, I don't think such measures are necessary. In my experience with 8/9 year olds, they don't really have the cognitive ability to manipulate the teacher for the whole "let me pretend I have to pee so I can get out of class" thing. I might be wrong, though. As for this particular situation, I just can't imagine having a student speak to me that way. I have always been told 7th grade is the "trenches" as far as behavior/back talk, and with the 400 or so 7th graders I have taught, NONE have ever spoken to me that way. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been disrespected by a 13 year old. I think you might want to re-evaluate the atmosphere you create with this new group of students you teach. Have your rules and expectations, but be compassionate as well. For the lower grades, if you somehow have 8 year olds who abuse the bathroom, why not think of a way around that rewards the kids for valuing your class time?