LHS adds all-gender bathrooms available for use by all students

New+all-gender+bathrooms+have+been+added+in+the+foods+hallway+and+other+locations+throughout+LHS.

Luke Ekdahl

New all-gender bathrooms have been added in the foods hallway and other locations throughout LHS.

Luke Ekdahl, Staff Writer

In recent weeks, new all-gender bathrooms have been installed at Libertyville High School, for the benefit of the LGBT community, as well as for other students who desire more privacy.

 

The new bathrooms have taken the place of six of the former staff bathrooms. The bathrooms are located near the studio theater, in the foods hallway, and directly above the foods hallway on the second floor. They are single-stall and feature a privacy lock that displays “occupied” when in use.

 

LHS Principal Dr. Marina Scott worked with the transgender support task force, and the school as a whole, to make this change occur, she said. Dr. Scott wanted to take a proactive step to help protect the LGBT community.

 

“We want to make students feel like they’re affirmed and accepted, not just tolerated,” said Dr. Scott in reference to the new all-gender bathrooms. “It’s not just for transgender students though. Although the gender task force recommended it, when it was brought back to the schools and when it was discussed, there are a lot of students, for various reasons who would like a private place to dress, or go to the bathroom.”

 

The transgender support task force for the district was started a little over a year ago, and the idea of adding all-gender bathrooms began shortly after that. Last spring, the same task force added private changing stalls in all locker rooms.

“They (the bathrooms) have always been a topic of conversation (in the committee),” according to Dr. Scott.

 

When deciding the location of the new bathrooms, factors such as accessibility to students and which staff bathrooms would be efficient to transform were taken into consideration.

 

“We walked around with the building and grounds managers … and looked at which [staff bathrooms] would be efficient to transform,” Dr. Scott said.

 

They wanted locations that were easily accessible to students, as well. Dr. Scott noted that “If somebody has to travel all the way to the deepest, darkest corner of the building, then how is that going to help you?”

 

LHS’s proactivity about the issue was reinforced when joint guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and Justice was released on May 13. According to the U.S. Department of Education and Justice, schools need to have an environment free from discrimination based on sex.

 

“Course legislation informs us, but it doesn’t drive us. We are driven by the needs of our students, and that we will continue to look at making all students feel affirmed,” Dr. Scott noted.

 

In addition, the guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and Justice states that “[Schools must] allow students … to access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity” as well as “protect students’ privacy related to their transgender status.”
All-gender bathrooms are likely the first steps in making sure that all students, no matter their gender identity, are comfortable at school. Dr. Scott said that LHS will continue to monitor procedures with respect to transgender matters, such as name changes in powerschool and on diplomas.