Last year, New York City signed a bill mandating that all schools in the city allow students to use whatever bathroom they are most comfortable with, regardless of the gender listed on their birth certificate. In the wake of the Trump administrations roll-backs of transgender protections for schools, the Big Apple pledged to keep their gender-neutral bathroom rule, but now it’s gone one step further to protect students. By 2018, all NYC schools will have a single-stall bathroom for anyone to use, regardless of gender or their abilities.
Education chancellor Carmen Fariña told the Associated Press that the move was to ensure a “safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment,” where no one has to worry about being harassed or bothered about going to pee.
Fariña added, “We are dedicated to providing every student with a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment. As part of that commitment, we want to ensure that all students receive the additional privacy they need and have access to a restroom that aligns with their gender identity.”
The bathrooms will include signs, safety locks with administrative keys, and free tampons and pads in schools with grade 6-12. (Amazing side note: All of the city’s schools have to provide free tampons and pads to students.)
Of course, just one single-stall bathroom can’t serve every student, all the time, but if there’s one thing that New Yorkers are good at, it’s waiting in line and sharing resources. In addition to that, the city still mandates that schools allow for gender-neutral bathrooms, despite the Trump administration’s guidance, so this is just one extra measure. Already, any single-stall bathroom anywhere in New York City has to be labeled as gender neutral, too. So this is a pretty obvious extension of that regulation.
For cities and school districts that want to keep kids safe, but feel threatened by federal or state laws that are against allowing kids to safely use the bathroom, mandating a single stall could be a good way to get around the laws.