LAUSD schools’ neutral gender bathrooms
This is a first for the Los Angeles Unified School District which established their first neutral gender bathroom at Santee Education Complex. Students who are of a different gender can now use the same bathroom. The “girl’s sign” was removed on the door and replaced by an “all gender” sign. Nothing needed to be changed inside the bathroom to accommodate the sharing of the bathroom. So, the change certainly was cost-effective.
This LAUSD high school in south central Los Angeles has approximately 1,780 students and this bathroom is open to all students. California Law and also the LAUSD policy states that transgender students can use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Thus, in keeping with the ruling and policy, LAUSD established a “neutral gender” bathroom.
Since January, the school’s Gay Straight Alliance had advocated for this bathroom change by picketing using posters which read, “It’s just a toilet” and “Pee in peace.” 700 students and faculty had signed a petition.
At other LAUSD schools, there are bathrooms in the nurses’ offices or in the staff lounges which students can access regardless of gender, but often those bathrooms are a distance from their classrooms. Those are one stall bathrooms so students are afforded privacy. In multiple stall bathrooms, as the one in Santee, which has 15 stalls, the bathroom will be monitored. parents were concerned about privacy, and harassment issues. Principal Jose Lara assured the parents the bathroom situation will be monitored by himself, staff and also by the Gay Straight Alliance students for harassment and any potential bullying. A texting hotline is used by the students who can immediately report any incidents.
Other schools have started to follow suit. Some schools in San Francisco Unified School District have single stall “gender neutral” bathrooms but none are multiple stalls as in the Santee Education Complex. In San Francisco, an elementary school has removed bathroom signs for girls and boys in single stall bathrooms in kindergarten and first grade and plans to also do this in their multiple stall bathrooms in higher grades.
In North Carolina, a law was passed restricting the bathrooms transgender students can use and South Dakota vetoed a bill that denied the bathroom usage for transgender students to use the bathroom of the sex they identified with.
LAUSD is the second largest school district and now is a forerunner to set policy favorable to transgender students. This is a first for LAUSD and it took place Thursday, April 14th as the former girls’ bathroom sign came down in the 15 stall bathroom which can now be used by all students regardless of gender.