colleges with water polo teams neutral restrooms cause concern among parents
Joanna O’Bear’s daughter will likely be one of the first sixth graders to walk the halls of Sky Ranch Middle Schoolin Spanish Springs when it opens in 2019.
Her daughter’s first day of middle school will be spent in brand new classrooms, in a brand new building, stocked with the newest learning tools and ideas. But O’Bear is among a contingent of parents who reached out to the RGJ with concerns over one ofthe campus’sgroundbreaking fixtures:gender neutral restrooms.
The newdesign means all students will share the same restroom space, with fully enclosed private stalls with lockable doors.
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The district said gender neutral restrooms will be a fixture in allnew schools from now on. Two middle schools, Sky Ranch in Spanish Springsand a yet to be named campus in Sun Valley, and Nick Poulakidas Elementary School in the South Meadowsare set to open in August 2019. Department of Education as an example of how school districts should treat transgender students. It also mandates that students be acknowledged by their preferred pronouns and can keep their biologic gender private.
“It’s not about growth of that (policy), It’s about the climate and safety of all students,” said Riley Sutton, a district spokesperson.
Sutton said the new designs are instead based on “best practices and how bathroom design is going nationwide.”
Parents who reached out to the Reno Gazette Journal said they aren’t necessarily opposed to the idea of students sharing restrooms. But they’re concerned that the communal nature of the new design and the increased privacy the stalls afford could lead to issues.
“I have no issue with the sharing of the bathrooms,” said Brooke Sambrano, who has four children in the district ranging from kindergarten to high school age. “It’s mostly just the safety and the sanitation.”
The new restrooms, which will cost $500,000, will be fully enclosed, lockable and relatively soundproof.
Parents are also worried that the district’s effort to curb bullying might lead to more opportunity for it.
O’Bear pointed to thepotential for anxiety and embarrassment whilehaving a bathroom related emergency in front of classmates.
Young kids, O’Bear said, can be petty and insensitive about some of the more private things that occur in the confines of a school restroom. The lack of privacy in the new design could exacerbate this, she worried.
“I was there, I was a kid do you not remember what it was like to be that age?” she said. “It was miserable.”
What are the new bathrooms going to look like?The new gender neutral bathrooms will be strikingly differentthan parents and students are used to.
They’ll feature rows of approximately 10 stalls enclosed floor to ceiling. The stallsopen up to a communal sink area that is in full view of the public space it’sadjacent to. The stalls will feature insulated, lockable doors and their own fan and light fixtures.
At the middle school level, the restrooms will be located within view of the cafeteria and on each of the school’s two wings.
Sinks, which will be placed on a waist high pony wall, will serve as the only partitionbetween the restrooms and the outside public spaces.