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The Foreword

The Student News Site of Allderdice High School

The Foreword

Failure of the Gender-Neutral Bathroom: A Reflection of Administrative Miscommunication with Student Initiatives

A gender neutral bathroom sign, representing the concept that Allderdice students were advocating for. (ADA Signs)

When the students of a school are encouraged to take charge and make change, what happens when those empowering them to voice their concerns and vision fail to realize their students’ vision? This was the case of Allderdice’s gender-neutral bathroom during the 2021-2022 school year, a concept whose implementation was far removed from its intention.

“The thought process was to have a bathroom that people who did not feel comfortable [with either bathroom] could go to,” says Kacie Hilson, having been greatly involved in the GSA/FSU (Gay Student Alliance and Feminist Student Union respectively) effort to open the bathroom. Its operation was meant to be a teacher-style restroom—a single stall with students requiring permission to use it. This concept, at first glance, worked just fine, and the GSA/FSU had met with the school administration in preparation for its creation.

What had happened was far from what any student had expected. “I was horrified the morning it was announced over the intercom; it was reckless and the absolute worst way to go about it,” Ms. Castro, Allderdice teacher and heading the student initiative at Allderdice, commented. After the announcement of its opening, what followed was a mass stampede into it immediately after homeroom. I, a freshman (and very ignorant of the information I received), entered with my friends to see what the novelty was like. We entered a hangout, and in retrospect, the butchering of what was supposed to be a guarantee of security for the minority of students who needed a safe environment to be themselves.

“We were planning on having teachers be the ones to pull the kids aside to let them know; Dr. McCoy was not supposed to announce it,” Hilson said, believing the implementation to be a gross disservice. The bathroom was closed by the third day. It’s anyone’s guess why the bathroom closed, and rumors are plentiful, but the destruction of a sink is the foremost reason for its closure. Evidently, the bathroom had proven to be a failure.

On the bathroom itself, “We have to create a culture that allows for this security. It’s not a unique thing [for] Allderdice to try and do it,” Castro declared. Yet, the issue itself transcends the concept of the bathroom and what it stands for. What finds itself at the forefront of the matter is the question of how our administration will take the idea of a student and implement it, as is their prerogative. The gender-neutral bathroom could have been a success should it have been implemented according to what the GSA/FSU had intended. The concern now expressed is in regards to the future, one where Allderdice is efficient and capable of executing what its students truly want.

Delving into the complexities of this situation, it becomes apparent that the story of Allderdice’s gender-neutral bathroom serves as a reminder of the broader challenges and opportunities faced in our schools. The clash between intention and execution highlights the importance of effective communication and collaboration between students and administrators. Moreover, the concept of a gender-neutral bathroom is not unique to Allderdice but reflects a nationwide conversation about inclusivity and creating safe spaces for all students.

It is imperative that we learn from the missteps of these events and strive for a future where Allderdice efficiently implements student-driven initiatives. 

Allderdice’s gender-neutral bathroom project highlights the challenges and opportunities of student empowerment in our educational institutions. By analyzing this case, we can better understand the importance of aligning intention with execution and fostering a culture of inclusivity within our schools. It is our hope that this experience will pave the way for more successful student-driven initiatives in the future.

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