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    Girls Bathroom and Relocation of Gender Neutral Bathroom
    Posted on 03/15/2019
    Dear Washington Middle School Students and Families,

    Since June of 2018, I've heard a great deal of feedback and concerns from students and families regarding difficulties with the status and location of female restrooms throughout our building. I began to learn more about this issue in conversations with school staff and to work with the district to resolve it last summer. Over the course of the school year, I’ve heard varied perspectives from students, staff, and families regarding the location of the gender neutral bathroom, and related issues of cultural beliefs, safety, and gender parity.

    After continued conversations, and with the advocacy of our families, effective Monday, the restroom nearest to the counseling office will return to serving as a female bathroom. The gender neutral bathroom will relocate to the single stall bathroom in the counseling office. The counseling office will be unlocked throughout the school day through the end of HOST (5:30pm) to ensure access to the gender neutral bathroom for students. During lunches, students will be able to access the new female bathroom by the counseling office, the gender neutral bathroom in the counseling office, and the male bathroom in the main hallway next to Rm. 105 (Mr. Cohr’s office). The move to a single stall bathroom is in alignment with all of the district’s new and remodeled buildings as well as at least one of the other comprehensive middle schools.

    I was able to meet with the school’s Gay Straight Alliance earlier this week to get ideas for ensuring a smooth transition. In this conversation, several great ideas came up, including recommendations for communication of the change, a suggestion to identify a second, single-stall, gender neutral bathroom on the first floor and to have counseling staff write passes for students whose use of the single-stall bathroom may make them late to class. We have implemented their communication recommendations, will immediately enact the recommendation regarding passes, and are working to identify a possible second gender neutral bathroom location on the first floor.

    While there is no perfect solution with our existing building, I want to thank our parents and students for their advocacy and feedback on this matter and am glad we are able to move forward with a compromise that takes into consideration the needs of all students.

    Emily A. Butler Ginolfi