Gender neutral washrooms lacking in local public schools

District human right committee says that is violation of B.C. Human Rights Code and has requested the policy be addressed.

  • Nov. 13, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Kevin Kaardal

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has been requested to provide gender neutral washrooms in local schools.

The request is a recommendation made at the Sept. 29 meeting of the district human rights committee in response to recent changes in the B.C. Human Rights Code.

Those changes included the expansion of protection to specifically address sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

The human rights committee also is saying they have received several requests from schools, through committee members and student groups, for the provision of gender neutral washroom facilities in schools.

In response to the costs of repurposing washrooms to accommodate the gender neutral designation, the committee is asking the school board to make single-use washrooms that exist in local schools more accessible by changing the signage from gender specific “male” or “female” to a gender neutral term, “washroom.”

The committee also suggest that further retrofitting, renovation and designing of washrooms in existing or new facilities be done as funding becomes available.

Kevin Kaardal, superintendent/CEO of the Central Okanagan School District, is recommending that the district human rights committee gender neutral washroom requests be adopted by the school board.

He says all existing school district policies should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the revised Human Rights Code.

The board of education will discuss the issue at the Nov. 16 regular board meeting.


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