Last Updated on January 26, 2020
The Denver School Board unanimously voted on a requirement for all schools to at least maintain one gender neutral toilet on their premises, in an act of solidarity with transgender students.
Within the resolution, the School Board maintains “the right of students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.”
The mandate goes onto instruct all school staff to “honor and respect a student’s self-reported gender identity and gender expression,” which will demand staff to respect students’ chosen genders and pronouns–despite not being legally recognized as such, according to Disrn.
Teachers will avoid disciplinary action for speaking about their sexual orientation or gender identity in a work-appropriate manner.
Staff will also be permitted to hang LGBT rainbow flags or other symbols denoting support for the LGBT movement.
One Denver resident reportedly spoke out during the resolution; a transgender student who claimed that they avoided drinking water throughout the school day to avoid using a single-sex restroom.
An LGBT advocacy group, One Colorado, issued a statement, published in The Denver Post, saying:
“While we all hope that schools serve their purpose as an incubator for creativity, connection, and learning, far too often they can be lonely or hostile places,” said Daniel Ramos, the group’s executive director. “This resolution is a much-needed step to protect LGBTQ youth, educators, administrators, staff, and parents from becoming targets of bullying and abuse.”
At-large board member Tay Anderson says he hopes the resolution will send a message to other school districts and the Federal Government.
“In Denver Public Schools, we believe that love always trumps hate,” Anderson said. “It is time that we fight for everybody in the United States of America.”
Gender neutral toilets in schools has become an international issue.
Recently, schools in Australia banned the inclusion of gender neutral toilets following a huge parental backlash after a Queensland high school unveiled the majority of their restroom facilities to be gender neutral.
Schools in the UK have reported increased truancy, teasing, and girls refraining from using the facilities over bullying and privacy concerns.
A high school in Missouri recently had a flag-related drama when a student, who was handing out LGBT symbols, inadvertently inspired a group of students to fly the Confederate Flag as a direct response.