A public high school’s decision to remove the front doors of toilet blocks in order to create ‘non-gendered’ facilities has been met with fury among parents.
In a letter sent to parents and caregivers, the Principal of Golden Grove High School in Adelaide, Australia Peter Kuss, advised the changes to the current toilet facilities had been implemented.
‘The health, safety, and wellbeing of all young people is important to us. We understand that accessing toilet facilities whilst at school can cause anxiety for some students,’ Mr. Kuss wrote in the letter.
‘The guidelines for the provision of student toilets has evolved over time.
The high school is currently undertaking a new $15 million redevelopment.
‘New toilets provided as part of the recent capital works project… have been constructed to meet the new standards,’ Mr Kuss added.
This included providing lockable, non-gendered, individual cubicles, with handwashing included inside the cubicle, accessed directly from common spaces or open corridors.
Kuss claimed the school was ‘taking the steps to modify the design of the existing toilet blocks so they mimic as much as possible the look and feel of the toilet facilities in the new buildings’.
‘Hence, we will be removing the outer doors leading into the existing toilet blocks so the toilets in these spaces are more easily accessible from the foyers.’
Mr Kuss added: ‘We believe this action will provide greater safety for student usage and will more closely align our older toilet blocks with the new standards.’
The changes, however, had been met with heavy criticism from parents, reported The Advertiser.
One mother said her children ‘no longer feel safe and feel their privacy has been compromised.’
‘The cubicles on some of the toilets can be seen by students and teachers walking past,’ she added.
‘I’ve had other parents tell me their kids will not use the toilets either.’
An Education Department spokesperson has claimed that the school’s toilets are adequately private.
‘Students’ privacy isn’t compromised. All the cubicles have lockable doors and only hand washing areas are visible from hallways or foyers.’
South Australian Department of Education – education facilities design standards (toilets)
- All student toilets are to be designed as fully enclosed toilet cubicles (fully enclosed cubicles provide for complete privacy)
- Gaps between doors and partitions must be designed to ensure privacy e.g. students must not be able to easily see between gaps into the toilet cubicle.
- Where student toilet amenities are accessed both internally and externally, there must have a lockable door to the external entrance of the toilet amenity and passive supervision must be possible both externally and internally.
- Source: Government of South Australia – Department of Education