A year and a half ago, the gender neutral bathrooms located near the 800 building were shut down due to continuous problems with sexual activity and vaping. Because the stall doors reach all the way to the floor, students were more likely to engage in inappropriate activities. Combined with the increased vaping rates on campus, the administration decided that it was too much of a risk to keep the previous gender neutral bathrooms unlocked.
While there are two gender neutral bathrooms in the attendance office, the accessibility continues to raise controversies among students and staff.
Although there are many gender neutral restrooms located throughout the campus due to the California law passed in 2017 that all single-occupant restrooms are required to be identified as “all-gender” bathrooms, there are only two accessable to students. The rest remain permanently locked unless unlocked using a teacher’s key.
Students have since found themselves in difficult situations after the closing of the upper campus bathrooms. Sophomore Alex Davidson, who identifies as transgender and uses the pronouns he/him, has struggled to find a bathroom that he feels comfortable in.
“At one point during fifth period I had to go to the bathroom and checked every single gender neutral bathroom. I had to use the one in the nurse’s office because the rest were closed,” Davidson said. “I didn’t want to, but I was scared that if I went into the boy’s bathroom people would approach me about it.”
Davidson said that by walking into the usually crowded office, he felt as though he was “outing himself”. If a student enters the office during class times, the administration is required to ask them why they are there, causing them to announce their purpose to the staff and students present. “I don’t want to come out to every single person in the nurse’s office,” Davidson said.
Sophomore Sam McWherter, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, also faces difficulties regarding having to use the gender neutral restrooms in the office.
“If I’m in my art class or my physics class I’ll have to come all the way down,” McWherter said. “Not only am I outing myself, but I’m also taking time away from class.”
Both the staff and students have had trouble finding a suitable fix for this situation, however, each side has been willing to collaborate and create a plan.
“We want kids to feel comfortable coming to school and if their bathroom situation makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, that means that as adults we’re not doing our job,” Mike Casper, the Assistant Principal said. “I would be more than willing to talk to kids and listen to suggestions on a bathroom situation that would make them feel comfortable at school.”