Kansas City school district to use gender-neutral restrooms

Kansas City school district to use gender-neutral restrooms
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North Kansas City school district is moving to gender-neutral restrooms in two new elementary schools as well as its renovated high school and sixth-grade centers.

The toilet stalls are to be entirely closed off with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors, The Kansas City Star reports, but open to all students.

The design is meant to allow students more privacy, while allowing teachers to better monitor students from the bathroom common area.

The move is also geared toward making the school inclusive.

“The design was a decision based on privacy, safety and security for all students," executive director of organizational development for the district Rochel Daniel told The Kansas City Star.

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The president of the firm who designed the bathrooms, Kirk Horder, said that the design is a new one, meant to solve the complex problems gender-neutral restrooms can pose.

“This is really different. And it’s a tough issue. But you got to think forward a little bit. We believe they improve safety,” Horder told the newspaper.

The school district made the decision independent of any mandate from federal or state law after it had success with a gender-neutral innovation center for gifted students in 2016.

“We had such positive feedback from students, teachers and parents,” Daniels told The Kansas City Star. “Since then we have decided to replicate the concept in any new construction.”

“I think it’s great,” Melanie Austin, a parent of a North Kansas City elementary schooler told The Kansas Star. “You just don’t know what gender a kid might identify as. This helps everyone to feel comfortable, accepted.”

The district has made headlines for its inclusivity to transgender students before. In 2015, one of its four high schools got national attention when it elected a transgender student homecoming queen.