High school boosts awareness of genderless washrooms

Hunting Hills posts photo of washroom sign on their facebook page

  • Feb. 22, 2017 5:38 p.m.

INCLUSIVE - Hunting Hills High School posted this photo of its all-gender restroom sign.

This month, Hunting Hills High School made a statement in support of gender diversity by posting a picture of its all-gender restroom sign on its facebook page.

“We always want to be open and honest with all of our stakeholders. We believe that all students and parents should be aware of the ongoings in our building. We want our parents to hear directly from us what is happening in our school,” wrote school Principal Darwin Roscoe in an email.

He continued that the gender neutral washroom came as a request from the school’s QSA.

“This is supported by board policy as well as provincial legislation,” he wrote.

While not a compulsory requirement, the Alberta Government’s guidelines for school policies concerning gender identities and expressions call for schools to provide a non-gendered, single-stall washroom for students who want the extra privacy, be it for reasons that are medical, religious, cultural or related to gender identity and expression.

The guidelines say if possible, schools should have more than one non-gendered washroom that the entire school community could use.

Alberta Education released the guidelines in 2016.

Over at Red Deer Catholic, Superintendent Paul Mason said the division had reviewed the provincial guidelines and felt existing practices were adequate for creating safe, inclusive and caring schools for all students regardless of identity.

“We’ve had practices in place for many years. We’ve endeavored to always provide safe and caring environments for all of our students and addressing the needs of all students,” Mason said.

“In practice, it provides genderless washrooms for students who have that requirement or have made that request. That’s something we’ve done in a number of our school sites over the years.

“It’s not new for us. It’s something we’ve worked on with our students and families for several years now.”

joseph.ho@reddeerexpress.com

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