At Large Lab locked up

Transgender students face limited bathroom accessibility


Sarah Kluckhohn

Door to the At Large Lab. The code on the side is no longer functional.

Sarah Kluckhohn

Park has four gender neutral bathrooms, two of which sit in the At Large Lab on the second floor of the C hallway. Formerly, students could enter the At Large Lab with a code distributed from student to student. Recently, the code was removed by administration, making it accessible only by key. Students who need to use the bathroom must be escorted by a teacher or Academic Support Coordinator (ASC). 

According to ASC Derek Wennerberg, the code was changed to the At Large Lab because the space was being misused. 

“The code for the lab has been the same for many years and it’s just been kind of disseminated out to staff,” Wennerberg said. “That’s an unsupervised space and students have been getting in there and messing around.”

Freshman Nix Casey-Fix said that students whose needs are accommodated by binary bathrooms take advantage of the space.

“People definitely misuse those bathrooms, they use them to be with their friends, or just skip,” Casey-Fix said. 

Assistant principal Alyssa Gardner says limiting the At Large Lab’s accessibility will fix the issue of abuse, while not interfering seriously with transgender student’s ability to use them. 

“We know that it does limit student options, so we have gender-inclusive bathrooms in the Student Services area as well,” Gardner said. “Many of our counseling and social work staff are also connected with students who feel most comfortable in gender-inclusive bathrooms. We’ve been working through them and having conversations with their students about making sure that they have the access that they need and feel comfortable.”

Sophomore Oliver Hallin said the At Large Lab bathrooms are a convenient location compared to the other gender neutral bathrooms. 

“The gender neutral bathrooms in the C hallway are really helpful, but they’re not accessible anymore unless you have an adult with you and that’s really difficult,” Hallin said. “The bathrooms in student services are much farther away — I can’t get there, use the bathroom and get to my class on time. It’s just not possible.”

Casey-Fix said that an adult being there isn’t the only issue — they think students will be reluctant to ask for an ASC or teacher escort. 

“It’s way too excessive to have to get an escort just to go to the bathroom, that’s not something I would do willingly,” Casey-Fix said. “It’s not something I think anyone would do willingly.” 

According to Hallin, locking the bathrooms isn’t the only option to fix the issue and it is harmful, specifically towards transgender students.

“Admininstators could put someone there that could talk to people and find out why they are missing class, instead of inadvertently hurting transgender people because other people are missing class,” Hallin said. “They could have a keycard or people could get a personal one from student services.”