Elementary Schools Remove Bathroom Stall Hooks Over “Hanging Game”

Barrington school officials have removed the hooks from elementary school restroom stalls after discovering a game in which students hang by their shirt collars from stall doors.

A group of students at Countryside School observed the hanging game earlier this week in one of the restrooms, according to Barrington Community Unit School District 220 spokesman Dr. Jeff Arnett said.

"One child would help the other child, lift him up, hook the back of the shirt collar and twist each other around on the hook," Arnett said.

"They thought it was a fun, silly innocent game, not really understanding how much risk they were putting themselves in."

A student who witnessed the game informed a teacher.

“They were trying to be funny but, at their age, not really understanding the ramifications,” said Mary Anne Wesoloski, school nurse at Countryside.

Staff immediately intervened after receiving the news. The students involved were examined, and no one was injured in the incident.

Parents of all students involved in the game were contacted, Wesoloski said.

Lisa Witek immediately spoke to her first-grader after receiving the email.

"I've never heard of this game before, Witek said. "I talked up the third child, the fourth child that saw something that was going on, saw it was a bad situation, and went to find somebody."

When Wesoloski examined the two students who played the game, they said they learned of it outside of school.

“As soon as we learned it was bigger than what was in front of us, we contacted parents, other staff and the district,” she said.

The incident occurred during the second-grade lunch/recess period, when several students went in and out of the restrooms, according to the statement.

In response, all bathroom stall door hooks have been permanently removed at Countryside and other District 220 elementary schools, Wesoloski said.

Thursday is the last day of school for Countryside students. Wesoloski hopes the incident prompts conversations between students and their parents on avoiding risky behavior.

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