The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday once again fielded complaints from parents after the unveiling of a pilot program for unisex bathrooms.
The plan, released in March, calls for three single-user, gender-neutral staff bathrooms at Loudoun Valley and Broad Run high schools. Heritage, Dominion and Woodgrove high schools would have several single-user toilet rooms for students and staff that open onto a shared sink area.
School officials are taking the action to lessen the risk of inappropriate behavior, smoking and vaping, vandalism and other concerns, as well as to comply with the school system’s Policy 8040 on the rights of transgender and gender-expansive students.
Acting Superintendent Daniel Smith said at the meeting that although most students “are mindful and respectful of the individuality of other students, we know that smoking, vaping, drugs, vandalism, fighting, bullying and other types of conflicts and activity between students deter others from entering the space,” WTOP reported.
The plans call for more visibility for staff — for example, the sink rooms can be visible from the corridors — while each student would have more privacy while using the toilets.
None of that deterred parents at the meeting, one of whom called the policy “insane,” WTOP reported. Another parent said, “Let’s call the single-stall locked toilet enclosures inside unisex bathrooms what they are going to be … drug rooms and sexual assault rooms.”
Smith said in his report to the board that no school would be doing away with the traditional restroom design of multi-fixture rooms assigned to one gender.
The restrooms will be built over the summer and fall. They’ll get feedback from students and staff after the pilot program has been in place for 60 days.
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