Missouri school district installs ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms in elementary schools
NORTH KANSAS CITY, Missouri, August 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The North Kansas City School District in Missouri is embracing the push for gender-neutral bathrooms, installing new designs in old and new school buildings alike.
The just-opened Rising Hill Elementary and Northview Elementary, as well as two sixth-grade centers and North Kansas City High School, all feature the newly-designed restrooms, the Associated Press reports. They feature single-occupancy stalls fully enclosed by floor-to-ceiling walls and floor-length locking doors, as well as outside signs designated with both male and female figures.
The district says the design was originally created with input of both parents and students, and tested in 2016 at the Northland Innovation Center for gifted students. The district’s executive director of organizational development, Rochel Daniels, claimed positive feedback from students, parents, and teachers alike was so strong that the district “decided to replicate the concept in any new construction."
While student privacy is a major area of concern in most disputes over transgender bathrooms, Daniels claimed students prefer the enclosed stalls as “more private” than standard public restrooms. “Our teachers tell us there's no longer peering over or underneath the stalls as in some traditional restrooms,” she added according to KMBC 9 News.
“Teachers and other staff can be able to supervise in this open space” for washing hands, Rising Hill Elementary School Principal Kate Place said. “It increases supervision for students and increases safety and privacy.” District officials did not specify whether an adult staffer will be required to monitor the restrooms at all times.
"You just don't know what gender a kid might identify as," Melanie Austin, the mother of a first-grade girl, said in support of the new bathrooms. "This helps everyone to feel comfortable, accepted."
While North Kansas City educators are framing the new layout as a common-sense solution that achieves “gender neutrality” without compromising safety or privacy, RedState contributor Alex Parker identified several problematic scenarios that remain.
“Yeah — nothing bad can happen here. Well, unless a guy pushes a girl into the stall, locks the door, and assaults her,” Parker wrote. “Or unless a guy exposes himself to a girl. Or unless girls are humiliated by having to go to the bathroom with boys listening. Or unless boys are humiliated by having to go to the bathroom with girls listening.”
Across the country, transgender activists agitate for allowing gender-confused boys to use girls’ restrooms without regard for such privacy concerns. In one such case earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that “high school students do not have a fundamental privacy right to not share school restrooms, lockers, and showers with transgender students whose biological sex is different than theirs.”
The North Kansas City School District previously garnered national attention in 2015, when Landon Patterson – a biologically-male student who was then a senior at Oak Park High School – was chosen as homecoming queen.