CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ A fifth-grade teacher allowed five students _ a boy and four girls _ to use a trash can as a toilet during a school lockdown drill when no one was supposed to leave the classroom.

The Charleston County teacher, Philip Frandino, was reprimanded last year for putting cardboard around a student's desk and keeping him isolated from his classmates for two hours for talking, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Friday.

On Tuesday, Frandino gave the Charlestowne Academy students permission to use the trash can. When a girl used the bathroom, other girls held up jackets to shield the view while other students stood on the opposite wall with their backs turned, school district spokesman Jerry Adams said. Boys also did the same for the boy.

``It's not acceptable,'' associate superintendent Patricia Yandle told the newspaper.

During the drill, which lasted less than an hour, Frandino called the school's main office and said students needed to use the restroom. It's unclear what the he was told to do, but Yandle said he was not told to have students use the trash can.

``We always learn something'' during lockdown drills, school district spokesman Jerry Adams said Friday. ``And clearly communications between the classrooms and the main office to get directions on things was one of the issues here.''

Adams said as much privacy was given as possible. He also said students were given sanitary wipes.

The teacher was on administrative leave with pay. Frandino did not comment on the situation to The Associated Press.

Adams said officials were still looking into the incident.

``In a drill like this, teachers and principals have discretion and they have to make decisions,'' Adams said. ``I'm not going to second-guess that today.''

The school sent a letter to fifth-grade parents explaining that in an effort to follow lockdown procedures and ensure students' comfort, the teacher allowed the trash can to be used as a toilet. The lockdown was practice for an intruder entering the building.

Last year, Caren Weldon walked into Frandino's fourth-grade classroom and found her son surrounded by a cardboard box.

She planned to re-enroll her child this year, but didn't when she found out Frandino would be her son's fifth-grade teacher, she told the newspaper.

``Thank you, Lord, my child is not in that class,'' she said. ``It just shows he makes poor decisions when it comes to the children.''

Yandle said if the school had been on an actual lockdown and students needed to use the restroom, she would have encouraged them to think about something other than the bathroom.


Information from: The Post and Courier,