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Published by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation

Some parents concerned about gender-neutral bathrooms in new Regina schools

Posted: 04/19/17 9:48am CST

Some parents are concerned about Regina’s new schools because they all have gender-neutral bathrooms.

“My eight-year-old daughter has voiced the most concerns,” said Rena Nepinak. “She feels very strongly about boys and girls using the bathrooms together and she’s not comfortable with it. It’s not familiar to her.”

On Monday, Nepinak’s four children will be going to school at the new Sacred Heart School in central Regina. Nepinak said she agrees with gender-neutral bathrooms, but she just hopes her children are comfortable with it.

“I hope they’re going to be okay with it because we don’t have any options to move them. They love their school, it’s a great school, and I just hope they’re okay with it,” she said.

Six new schools will open in Regina in 2017, all with gender-neutral bathrooms. This decision comes from the Ministry of Education, which says “students with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions should have the right to accommodation when it comes to the use of washroom facilities that are in line with their gender identity.”

The bathrooms at Sacred Heart are along the hallways and are not separated by a door. The individual stalls have floor-to-ceiling doors that lock. The school also installed security cameras to see the common sink area of the washroom.

“Accommodating where we are nowadays,” said Regina Catholic Schools spokesperson Twylla West. “When we were building a lot of our schools a long time ago, building codes were very different, society was very different, and this is just what’s happening now. This is a modern state-of-the-art building, and that includes the washrooms.”

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