Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
NEA Today May 2024 Cover

NEA Today, May 2024

In our latest issue, educators get personal about the need for more bathroom breaks. Find out how NEA locals can provide relief. And some good news! Unions are on a winning streak, defeating far-right school board candidates across the country. You’ll also meet the 2024 ESP of the Year and get inspired by educators who are taking action against systemic racism.
NEA Today May 2024 Cover

Result List

teacher bathroom breaks
Cover Story

Teachers Need a Bathroom Break

by: Mary Ellen Flannery May 9, 2024
Urologists call it “teacher bladder,” and it can lead to serious health issues.
Kennita Ballard works with a student in the classroom
Feature Article

What Does it Mean To Be an Anti-Racist?

by: Brenda Álvarez May 6, 2024
Being ‘not racist’ is not enough. Learn from these educators how you can help dismantle systemic racism in your school.
C. Scott Miller
Feature Article

A Path to Progress for LGBTQ+ Students

by: Brenda Álvarez April 24, 2024
As anti-LGBTQ+ laws and book bans grab headlines, some states are leaning in to inclusion for LGBTQ+ students
winning streak
Feature Article

Winning Streak

by: Amanda Litvinov April 19, 2024
How NEA locals are defeating toxic, far-right school board candidates—and yours can too.

Special Sections


Editor's Note: My Union Bathroom Pass

When I was pregnant with my first child, who is now a freshman in high school, I had to get a doctor’s note to have regular bathroom breaks at work. I was a TV news reporter and taking a “bio break” wasn’t always possible. There are no restrooms on the side of a road when you’re covering a snowstorm or a house fire.

Giovanna Bechard
Bechard, in 2009

To avoid bathroom emergencies, I stopped drinking water. Then, six months into my pregnancy, I ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration. I was literally making myself sick and putting my baby in danger. 

The absurdity of it all forced me into action. I went to my union leaders and explained that something needed to be done. The solution for me? Prove that for medical reasons I always needed access to a bathroom. This meant my boss couldn’t schedule me on assignments that were too remote or where I didn’t have a vehicle to drive to a restroom. The problem was solved thanks to help from my union. 

My name is Giovanna Bechard, and I am the new editor-in-chief of NEA Today. I know, this story is a heck of an introduction to who I am, but my story is a reality for so many of our members. That’s why we made “Give Me a Bathroom Break”, by Mary Ellen Flannery, this month’s cover story.  

As educators, I’m sure many of you experience this reality every day. This article shows the severe, long-term health consequences of a lack of bathroom breaks, and how educator unions can create solutions for their members. I urge you all to read the story and share it with your local union leaders so they can start advocating for bladder health for you and your colleagues. We’ve even shared sample contract language to help you in the negotiation process. Your collective voice has the power to change things in your workplace! 

Just like I had a union to help me 14 years ago, you have NEA and your state and local affiliates to help you negotiate for bathroom breaks, higher salaries, your professional development, and more. We’re in this together! We kind of have to be now, I just told you about my personal potty problems. 

Giovanna Bechard, Editor-in-Chief 

Find more NEA Today Stories

NEA Today January 2024 Cover

NEA Today, January 2024

On Nov. 30, 2021, Michigan high school teacher Melissa Gibbons became part of a group she never wanted to join: school shooting survivors. Melissa shares her story in the latest issue of NEA Today, as we explore the complex issue of gun violence and meet educators who are making a difference in their schools. Together, we can change this.
NEA Today-Retired, May 2024

NEA Today for NEA-Retired Members, May 2024

In our latest issue, former educators share how they find a sense of belonging in retirement. And, if you are caring for aging parents, you’ll hear from experts about how to manage stress, share responsibilities, and cherish this precious time. Plus, you’ll meet Oregon retirees who helped Portland teachers strike and win!
NEA Today for Aspiring Educators 2024 Cover

NEA Today for Aspiring Educators, 2024

In this issue, find out how NEA Aspiring Educators are taking action to end gun violence on college campuses and how you can join their efforts. Plus, learn how you can take a stand against book bans, use your talents to advocate for students and public schools, and help get out the vote for this year's pivotal 2024 presidential election.

Get more from

We're here to help you succeed in your career, advocate for public school students, and stay up to date on the latest education news. Sign up to stay informed.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.