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An online petition asking for separate toilets for boys and girls in all schools has garnered almost 900 signatures.
Highland parents organised the petition and addressed it to Highland Council and MPs Drew Hendry and Fergus Ewing.
It comes just a few weeks after parents raised concerns over a proposal to have only unisex toilets at the new Ness Castle Primary School in Inverness.
As of Friday afternoon, 873 people had signed the petition since it launched on Tuesday. Petitioners are asking that all schools include male and female toilets as a choice for students.
Why the concern over unisex toilets?
Petition organiser Emma-Louise Mackenzie said that unisex toilets are harmful to young girls’ development.
“It is essential for girls to have private areas when having their period. In high school, girls as young as 12 could be sharing a toilet with a boy as old as 18.
“Sharing toilet facilities can make girls feel unsafe when going to the toilet. It’s possible this could have a knock on effect in years to come, due to the anxiety of going to the toilet.
“Yes I agree some children may feel they need to use a unisex toilet but the choice should not be taken away from other children. I also believe that parents should be consulted before these toilets are introduced, which is something that is not currently happening.”
Council says unisex toilets not on the agenda
Highland Council has said that many new build schools feature open-plan toilet facilities. But head teachers, parents and students can make decisions about unisex facilities on their own, the council said.
Council officials have suggested that open-plan toilets can help reduce bullying and other forms of antisocial behaviour.
A council spokesperson said that installing only gender-neutral toilets is not a council policy.
“Pupil toilet areas in our new build schools are designed to provide flexibility in how the school manages the facilities to meet the needs of all pupils.”
In the case of Ness Castle Primary, the head teacher reversed the decision to install unisex toilets after consultation with parents.
What do you think?
Open-plan and unisex toilets have caused controversy at Culloden Academy and Ness Castle this year. But other schools already use this format. If your school has open-plan toilets or unisex facilities, get in touch with us at email@example.com and let us know how you and your children feel about it.
Read more from the Schools & Family team
Round the U-bend: Unisex toilets are controversial with parents, but what’s the idea behind them? Here’s the facts
Readers React: Are unisex toilets in schools the right choice?
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