Dirty and Uncomfortable: Parents Demand Change to Gender-Neutral Washrooms at Toronto School

Parents at Toronto’s Jean Lumb Public School, the city’s first and only public school with all gender-neutral washrooms, are urging the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to add separate facilities for boys and girls, according to a report from the Toronto Star. They cite concerns about safety, hygiene, and comfort as their primary reasons for the request.

A group of approximately 125 parents at the school, which has about 550 students in kindergarten to Grade 8, have expressed their worries about the current setup. They claim that incidents have occurred, such as children peeking beneath stall doors and exposing themselves to others. The parents also argue that the washrooms, which lack urinals and often have urine on the seats, are unsanitary. 

Additionally, they highlight the discomfort experienced by menstruating girls who need to unwrap sanitary products within earshot of boys. Muslim parents also feel that their religious practices, such as the wudu purification ritual, are not being respected.

The concerned parents are not opposed to gender-neutral washrooms but are requesting that one set of multi-stall washrooms be transformed to cater specifically to those identifying as male and female. They believe that this would create a truly inclusive environment where students have a choice without feeling forced or afraid. However, the parent community appears divided on the issue, with some supporting the current setup and others indifferent.

The TDSB, meanwhile, is defending its decision, saying that the gender-neutral washrooms promote inclusivity, reduce bullying and discrimination, and create a more accepting environment. 

RELATED: Toronto District School Board Bans Use Of The Word “Hallowe’en” In The Name Of Equity

Scott MacMillan, a father of a kindergarten student at the school, echoes these sentiments. He suggests that any safety concerns should be addressed separately rather than turning the issue into a debate about gendered versus non-gendered bathrooms.

The TDSB acknowledges the parents’ concerns and plans to install new doors to increase privacy and prevent peeking. They have no immediate plans to eliminate gendered washrooms in other schools due to the requirement of removing urinals. The TDSB spokesperson, Ryan Bird, mentions that staff are considering changes to washroom design standards for future school buildings but no final decision has been made.

The parents at Jean Lumb feel that the TDSB did not consult them adequately when implementing the gender-neutral washrooms, leaving them feeling like participants in a social experiment. The TDSB maintains that it aims to provide an inclusive environment for students while ensuring access to stand-alone single-user washrooms for those who require them.

Information for this story was found via the Toronto Star, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

Leave a Reply