To some it will look like a single stall bathroom, but for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students at North Battleford Comprehensive School it will be much more.
The high school, which is part of the Living Sky School Division, is in the process of converting a former staff bathroom facility into a gender friendly or single-stall unit so students can feel safe, comfortable, and included with a more private facility.
“We’ve been talking about a single stall unit for about a year now," Tonya Lehman, Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction of the Living Sky School Division, said. “We knew we had a responsibility to meet the needs of all of our children and to provide them with a sense of privacy.”
Lehman said the new single stall bathroom will not use any infrastructure to complete the project and the feedback has been positive from both students and faculty alike.
When asked by battlefordsNOW if there have been any concerns surrounding safety for the single stall bathroom facility, Lehman replied that the Living Sky School Division takes student safety seriously and will monitor the situation.
“Anytime our students are outside of the classroom that’s an area that we have on our radar,” she said. “We will definitely listen to the voices of our students and staff and keep our eyes open.”
She noted the division has been proactive in creating LGBTQ groups that are heading initiatives within the school such as Pride Week ceremonies.
Lehman added the school division will soon take part in the Comprehensive School Community Health Focus that is embraced by the Saskatchewan School System which mandates it a necessity that all schools provide safe and inclusive environments for students who identify as gender and/or sexually diverse.
“At the end of the day, the needs of our students and staff come first,” Lehman said. “That’s the important thing to remember.”
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