Gender-Neutral Bathroom

Alan Gamez, Reporter

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Venice High School will create a safe gender-neutral restroom as one way to protect all students from discrimination and harassment. By the end of the 2017 school year, the Venice administration will establish a multi-stall gender-neutral bathroom in the administration building (currently the girls’ bathroom) by end of the third week of May, according to Principal Oryla Wiedoeft.

The need for the bathroom results from the fact that “1 in 4 teens are bullied, 9 out of 10 LGBTQ students are bullied at school or online, and 43% of all bullied students fear harassment in the bathroom at school,” according to stompoutbullying.org.

Students conducted online petitions of the student body, with 500 signatures in support of creating an “Everyone’s Bathroom.” VHS’s school survey showed the highest positive scoring in areas of students’ acceptance of others. The petition circulated last semester.

When asked about his thoughts on the new bathroom, senior Drew Anderson said “People need to stop treating it like it’s something to debate about the need for. It’s about the rights of students. It’s far past debatable.”

Jose Lara, one of the advisors who facilitated the process at Santee High School, met with Venice’s principal, members of Social Emotional Learning team, and select VHS students. Lara told the group that the new bathroom was not as well accepted because his school did not plan it out as well as they should have.

Students who are involved at Venice held a “community circle” on Wednesday May 10, for anyone who was concerned. It provided a forum to air concerns or offer perspectives on establishing a gender-neutral restroom.

Students also informed their peers by placing a sign reading “As of Friday, May 25, this bathroom will shift to a gender neutral restroom (or “everyone’s bathroom”), providing a safe space for all students at VHS. Thank you for your support!

Students also monitor the restrooms to ensure that students are respecting the space. The restroom will be in full effect in the fall semester of 2017. There are teachers that are not comfortable with the idea so they are leaving time to digest the concept.

Teacher Hazel Kight Witham assigned groups to go around to each classroom and inform peers about this change.

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Gender-Neutral Bathroom