UK school opens gender-neutral toilets, fitted with CCTV

UK school opens gender-neutral toilets, fitted with CCTV

Parents have voiced fears their children could be sexually assaulted or bullied after a secondary school introduced gender neutral toilets.

Year 9 pupils at Swanmore College, near Southampton, have been allocated cubicles to 'stop the spread of coronavirus' when they return to school next month. 

Angry parents claim the toilets were installed without warning, their children are now being unfairly 'pushed' to use them and the concept of gender-neutrality is 'being forced down their throats'.

Boys and girls have one cubicle assigned each, with three additional, non-allocated toilets. 

One mother claimed the change is putting pupils at risk of sexual assault, abuse and bullying.

But the school insists a consultation was unnecessary as its decision to introduce its unisex toilet block was based on 'equality'. 

Initially, they were designed for pupils who wanted to use them but staff have been forced to allocate the block solely to Year 9 students.

There is an open-plan entrance lobby and communal areas will be monitored by CCTV, the school added.

Headteacher Kyle Jonathan said: 'We understand that this has caused shock to some parents and so we have made an accessible toilet available to any year 9 pupils not comfortable using the gender-neutral toilets.

'But the reality is, it is 2020 and to ask permission to have gender-neutral toilet feels like it's not in line with the equality we are looking to offer.

'It's a significant cultural shift - everything has always been gender assigned in the school for the past 50 odd years.

'We fully understand it's a new way of thinking. We did this because it was raised for a number of years by the pupils that they wanted to have gender-neutral toilets.

'When we were approaching this - a renovation of one of our 13 toilet blocks - we did not feel a consultation was justified because we would not consult on putting in another accessible toilet.'