A MEON Valley school has sparked outrage from parents by introducing gender neutral toilets for some pupils.

Swanmore College unveiled the new block on Facebook yesterday (Tuesday) and families were angered by the development.

The initial post from the school said: “The toilet renovation in W Block is now finished. They will be our first gender neutral toilets for pupils. They include 1 cubicle for “boys”, 1 cubicle for “girls” and 3 non-specified.

“There is an open plan entrance lobby with the communal areas covered by CCTV.”

As of this morning the announcement had gained hundreds of comments, the majority from parents expressing their opposition.

One parent said: “Well, I strongly object to this change and reading I’m not alone. Even as an adult I wouldn’t be happy at all to use toilets in this fashion, especially when the domination is gender neutral 3 toilets to one each side. Seems like a push concept! So you now have to accept gender neutral to have a wee?? Don’t agree AT ALL.”

Another posted: “Where was the email saying this was going to happen or even asking what parents think about it. No way should this be done. You wouldn’t do a mixed changing room so why mixed toilets?”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Others have said that they are not against gender neutral toilets, but would have preferred brick walls in between each one.

Some also argued that the school did not carry out a consultation with parents before making the decision to create the new toilets.

One mother wrote: “I have no issues regarding the gender neutral toilets, our children are growing up in a world where this is their normal and so far I’ve seen nothing but acceptance from my children around it.

“However, I do think Swanmore College should have worked closer with parents regarding communication around this, as I can also completely understand some of the concerns around girls and their time of the month." 

Other parents and some students have backed the school's decision, with one posting: "I left Swanmore in 2014 but think these are a good idea and look much nicer than some of the old toilets that were there when I was a pupil.

"I get some parents are concerned and it might take a bit of getting used to at first since many pupils won’t be used to using gender neutral public toilets but it won’t take long to get used to I’m sure and means they’ll be comfortable with gender neutral toilets in the future as I think they’ll become more common soon."

The college said the toilets were supposed to be used for a small set of pupils, but due to Covid-19 the toilets will be specifically used for Year 9 as each year group has been designated a block.

It added: “When this “inclusive” decision was taken, the idea was indeed that pupils could choose to use (or not) these toilets. In ordinary circumstances these would be one set out of 13 pupil accessible toilets. As a consequence of Covid-19 we have had to designate these toilets to Year 9 to ensure their safety and minimise the risk of cross contamination.

“Gender neutral toilets is something that pupil voice has been asking for, for sometime.

“We appreciate it will be a new normal for some pupils but we hope that with the support and understanding of you, the parents/guardians, they will adapt quickly and sensibly.”