Washroom policy aims to improve safety for transgendered students

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district could have a gender-neutral washroom policy in place by the end of the month.

An administrative washroom procedure has been drafted which calls for a minimum of one gender-neutral washroom in newly built or majorly renovated schools or the designation of such a washroom in current schools where it’s feasible, according to Bill Bard, school trustee and chairman of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity committee.

The procedure follows the lead of such institutions as Queen’s University, which has policies pertaining to transgendered and transexual individuals. Signage will clearly indicate that the washrooms have no gender restrictions.

Bard said the washroom procedure has been a priority for the committee and is pleased that it is nearing completion.

“The SOGI committee’s been working hard on this for two years and it’s been a long time coming but the end result will mean safer schools for children,” Bard said.

An example of the washrooms, he said, can be seen at Wellington Secondary School, which is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade.

“I’m resisting to go to Wellington until it’s finished but I’m told that Wellington will have several gender-neutral washrooms in it,” he said.

The draft has been distributed to committee members, district staff and administration in order for feedback and revisions, if necessary. It is expected to be approved at the district’s April 23 regular board meeting.

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