New gender-neutral bathroom policy demeaning

Transgender students not accommodated


Ivan Zank

Park has various gender-neutral bathrooms across the building. With the new bathroom policy, the administration is cutting that number back from three to two. 

The main gender neutral bathroom is in the At Large Lab, which has a passcode lock on the outside. For a while, the passcode was known and used by much of the student body for different reasons. Some students used these bathrooms to smoke or skip class, others are simply looking for a gender-neutral place to use the bathroom. 

The new rules for the gender neutral bathroom — and the At Large Lab in general — is that you must be accompanied by a staff member. Staff will open the door for you and wait outside the bathroom as you use it.

As a transgender person, this is disgusting and humiliating. Park continuously forgets that there are transgender students in the Park school system and that we deserve to feel safe at school. We deserve to use the bathroom just like everyone else. I understand wanting to limit skipping class and drug use, but the administration should’ve considered students who need to use the gender neutral bathroom, not just those who want to. 

I do not feel comfortable in the women’s bathroom, I do not feel safe in the men’s bathroom and I shouldn’t have to compromise my safety because Park won’t accommodate my or other transgender students‘ needs. 

Not only is it humiliating to use the bathroom while a teacher waits outside, it’s a huge waste of staff. We are already short-staffed, using our limited staff to monitor students like dogs is degrading and a stupid use of staff. 

There are a few ways Park can improve this situation. The long-term solution would be to introduce more gender-neutral bathrooms in general, but this likely requires more money and time than Park can afford at the moment. We’re scheduled for construction in the next few years, so adding a few more gender neutral bathrooms that are accessible around the school won’t be difficult.

Even though constructing new gender-neutral bathrooms would be a long-term improvement for prospective students, it won’t improve the lives of most current students — especially upperclassmen. For a short-term solution that benefits both transgender students and administrators alike, Park can create a more comfortable environment with counselors and focus on finding the root of why students do drugs and skip classes. We have no idea what is happening in a person’s life and attempting to understand them further is a much better way to create an understanding environment at Park for everyone — including transgender students. 

The solution Park has come up with to combat using drugs and skipping is not productive — it doesn’t help the majority of students and only attempts to fix one problem. Park needs to accommodate all students and taking away the most accessible gender-neutral bathroom backtracks all the progress Park has attempted to make in the last few years.