Plans to implement the first ‘gender-neutral’ school toilets in Queensland, Australia, were blocked by lawmakers after a national backlash, according to reports.
Fortitude Valley State Secondary College, a new ‘vertical’ high school in Brisbane, was set to be the first school in the state to implement bathrooms designed to be used by both boys and girls.
Australia’s Department of Education had previously confirmed the plan, telling the Daily Mail, “the new facilities met contemporary design standards in relation to accessibility, inclusivity, privacy and safety.”
However, outraged parents and citizens across the country forced a change of course.
“We already know some really bad things happen to kids in bathroom areas of schools – bullying, sexting, kids recording on mobiles. These things already go on when they’re just within their own sex, and then you’re adding in an extra element,” one mother and educator told the Daily Mail.
“Being a teenager is a really big time of change, for boys and for girls, and kids have a right to feel safe.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk subsequently overturned the decision, saying, “I’ll be making it very clear they need to have toilets that are for boys and for girls.”
Palaszczuk’s top political opponents agree.
“It’s deeply concerning that a 12-year-old girl would be in a bathroom with a 17-year-old,” said legislator Deb Frederickson, Leader of the Queensland Opposition.
Education Minister Grace Grace has confirmed the necessary realignment of bathroom protocols has been made in response to Premier Palaszczuk’s decision, saying, “This includes a change to make separate, gender-specific toilets for boys and girls available. There are also specific toilets for students with a disability.”