FWCS adding gender neutral restrooms at Wayne High School

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:14 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Work is underway on the first major renovation to Wayne High School in more than 50 years.

The multi-million dollar project is part of a larger plan by the district approved in 2020.

At Wayne, improvements include updates classrooms and safety features. There’s something else too, gender neutral bathrooms, a first for the district

“As students come to us with varying needs, we want to make sure they have a safe comfortable environment in which to go to school,” says Krista Stockman, spokesperson for the district.

Stockman says the idea for gender neutral restrooms came from school leaders

The plan calls for the restrooms to be in a long hallway. Each stall will have floor to ceiling walls and doors. That way, only one person can enter one stall, and Stockman says the design should limit the temptation for someone to cause trouble.

She explains “People are going to be able to see who’s going in and out of those stalls. You certainly can’t see into them, but you’ll be able to see who’s going in and out, so since they are just single person stalls there’s less likelihood that students are going to do something to get themselves in trouble there”

The restrooms aren’t only for transgender people, they serve others too.

It could be used by girls who have longer lines to use the restroom or by adults who may feel uncomfortable being next to a student in the restroom.

The restroom will also be an option for transgender students who may not feel comfortable in a specific restroom.

“That isn’t something that we have a specific policy on in terms of, you know, a student must always go to the bathroom of their gender assigned at birth or a student must always go to a bathroom in the office. We want the students to be comfortable in school and to be able to use a restroom, but we also know that there are a lot of people in the building and we need everybody to be safe.”

So, while this is not the only option transgender students have, Stockman says the district sees this as a way to make the learning environment more comfortable for all students.