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All Schools Must Open Single-Stall Toilet to Help Transgender Kids: City

By Amy Zimmer | May 3, 2017 8:47am
 Making single-stall bathrooms available to students aims to help transgender students and others.
Making single-stall bathrooms available to students aims to help transgender students and others.
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MANHATTAN — All city public schools will designate a single-stall restroom for student use by January 2018, according to an announcement Tuesday from the Department of Education.

These bathrooms will provide schools with the ability to support students’ privacy needs, especially for transgender and gender non-conforming students, DOE officials said.

Ensuring that students have access to single-stall bathrooms — which exist in most buildings but are currently off-limits to them — is in accordance with the DOE’s transgender student guidelines allowing students to use all restrooms and other school facilities that align with their gender identity.

The DOE will work with principals to identify existing single-stall restrooms that can be converted for student use, officials said. While construction won’t be needed for the initiative, the city may have to change locks and in some cases install new doors.

The total price tag for this year is $1 million.

“Having an all gender restroom option other than the girls’ or boys’ room is important for the comfort and safety of students, particularly trans and gender non-conforming students and anyone who wants additional privacy for any reason,” Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn Malalis said in a statement.

She added, “Everyone in New York City deserves safe and equal access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity and expression. It’s the law, no questions asked.”

Anyone will be able to use the restroom, and they won't need any special pass or permission to do so, DOE officials said. Each restroom will have clear and appropriate signage, safety locks with administrative keys and free menstrual hygiene products in buildings serving grades six through 12.

All schools will receive detailed guidance, including an in-depth FAQ document explaining privacy and safety protocols, student access and appropriate terminology for describing the restroom to students, staff and families.

Detailed information on the initiative is also being backpacked home to families.