By Amanda Clark Managing Editor. All gender restrooms have been implemented in Sharon High School as of this fall.
In 2012, the state of Massachusetts advised all schools to include an amount of gender-neutral restrooms in proportion to the size of the school. However, the decision to bring all gender bathrooms to Sharon High was not made until last May.
At the end of the last school year, the entire faculty engaged in a training on sexual orientation and gender identity with speakers from SpeakOut Boston and BAGLY.
“At the close of this professional development, one consensus-oriented takeaway from the faculty’s feedback was that SHS was ready for gender neutral restrooms,” said Dr. Libano.
After the decision was made, four bathrooms were transformed into all gender bathrooms in the 700s and 500s hallways.
Libano says the addition of all gender restrooms “demonstrates a commitment to creating an inclusive and accepting environment.”
Many students agree with Dr. Libano and say that the new bathrooms will be helpful to all students struggling with gender identity.
Senior Wesley Fixler says he is proud of the way the school is promoting equality for all of its students.
“It’s a fantastic addition. With the uni-colored graduation robes and the installment of these new bathrooms, Sharon High is proving to be an open-minded community,” said Fixler.
Officer Hocking agrees and says the bathroom will prove to be a good thing for the school.
“For the kids who are transitioning I do think it’s a good thing. They’re safer there and it’s more comfortable for them. Sharon High is light years ahead of other schools in thinking about that,” said Hocking.
Other students say that while they understand the importance of the bathrooms, they personally do not feel comfortable using them.
Senior Charlotte Ransom says she will not be using the all gender bathrooms because she feels uncomfortable.
“For the people that need them, I think it is a really great idea and shows our school’s commitment to include everyone. However, the idea of going to the bathroom with the opposite gender is not something I’m a fan of. I’m not saying I think they should go away, I just won’t use them,” said Ransom.
Libano says this change will pave way for other changes in the future. “I’m working on creating some private changing areas in both the boys and girls locker rooms. Like the gender neutral restrooms, these would be for anyone to use,” said Libano.
Additionally, Libano is looking forward to hearing feedback as the year progresses.
“In the coming months, I’ll be listening for feedback from students, parents, and staff. Gender-neutral restrooms aren’t going away, but we may not need as many as were implemented. We’ll see as time passes,” said Libano.