After more than a year-and-a half of construction, Sacred Heart Community School is set to open on Monday featuring new gender-neutral washrooms.
The washroom stalls will have floor-to-ceiling doors that lock and communal sinks for hand washing.
A security camera will also overlook the common sink area, plus the washroom will not have a door covering the entry as it will lead straight into the hallways.
Catholic Schools Division communications Twylla West said it’s simply the way washrooms in schools are being built now.
“It’s 2017, and things are very different from the last time we were building schools… and this is how they look now,” she said.
“You can call it gender neutral, you can give it whatever label you want. We’re just calling it “the washroom.”
Regina Pride co-chair Dan Shier said it’s a step in the right direction to inclusivity.
“For an individual who doesn’t identify as male or female, or has a different gender identity, when a space like that exists, it acknowledges that they’re an important person,” he said.
Shier said the washrooms would have helped him when he was attending school.
“For me, I was shy in school, and so washrooms were an awkward place to be in… You have lots of bathroom bullying and intimidating spaces with washrooms and opening it up to gender neutral, creating closed stalls with locks… I think makes it more welcoming,” he said.
“I think it’s almost no different that it’s just another shared space for a student to exist.”
Around the city, reactions were mixed by students and parents.
Thirteen-year-old student Payton Oswalt will not be attending the new Sacred Heart school but said she wouldn’t have any concerns sharing a gender-neutral washroom with other students.
‘I think it’s good. Everyone would feel equal,” Oswalt said.
Parent Mouseb Maruwala said he doesn’t support it as he’s afraid of harassment for the students.
“It’s going to create some harassment to girls or harassment to boys. Maybe if there’s one boy and so many girls, he will be harassed or if there is one girl… maybe it will create problems,” he wondered.