A primary school is east London has found itself at the centre of controversy, after revealing the unisex toilets for pupils in its new £12 million building.
The new toilets, at Buxton School in Leytonstone, east London, are for use by both male and female pupils aged 8 and above.
But, according to reports, younger students will not be using the gender-neutral restrooms, and will instead use separate boy or girl toilets closer to their classrooms.
Some parents have loudly objected to the new toilets, and have expressed their concerns through a change.org petition, which currently has 917 out of 1000 signatures.
The petition, written by parent Esahan Karim, reads:
“We do not wish for our children to be part of this social experiment and therefore request the head teacher to take the appropriate action to restore traditionally segregated facilities without undue delay.
“We believe the decision to introduce unisex toilets will disrupt the hygiene, privacy, safety, security and the wellbeing of the children attending Buxton School.
“We fear that it may potentially cause an increase in sexually related incidents, including assault and harassment.”
Another parent added: “This sort of major decision should not be made without parent’s consultation. Actually, the children should be asked, as it’s their lives that are impacted.”
But some parents have said they support the measure, saying it’s a progressive step towards opening up gender norms.
“Everyone should be able to use the toilet in peace, whether in unisex or single sex toilets. Hopefully, the kids will be taught to be respectful of each other, whether in the toilets or not,” one parent said.
The school’s executive headteacher Kath Wheeler said that the new facilities meet standards set by the Department of Education and Waltham Forest council.
She also made it clear to the East London & West Essex Guardian that “no pupil [will have] to use a unisex toilet if they do not want to”.
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