Hanover Public Schools among first to build gender-neutral bathrooms

Gandy Elementary will open in 2024.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 8:49 PM EDT
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HANOVER, Va. (WWBT) - When the new Gandy Elementary School in Ashland opens in 2024, one feature is sure to stand out: All the restrooms in the school will be gender neutral.

After a 10-month dispute, the plan may come as a surprise since the school board is currently facing a lawsuit for not approving a transgender bathroom policy.

A 2020 state law requires school boards across the Commonwealth to recognize transgender and non-binary students.

The board gave the green light to the gender-neutral bathrooms at the new Gandy last week.

The designer says each Gandy student will have complete privacy.

“Every single stall has complete privacy. The partitions go from the floor to the ceiling. There are no gaps between the door and the wall, and when you’re doing you’re private activities, you’re doing them in the utmost privacy, " Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associate’s Architecture Josh Bower said in the board meeting last week.

Bower said bathroom sinks would be located in hallways when students wash their hands or comb their hair.

Kevin Farrell, a father of two Hanover students, believes this is a step in the right direction.

“This move gives me a slight glimmer of hope that Hanover is making some progress and being inclusive of all of our kids,” Farrell said.

Farrell says it takes a village to embrace change.

“I think we do need to be more inclusive as a society, as a county, and as a school system, and I think making moves like this helps us get on the right path forward,” Farrell said.

Not all parents agree with this decision. A handful of parents, who declined to talk on camera, told NBC12 that they feel this plan is inappropriate for students, especially those at such a young and vital age, where they are still developing socially and emotionally.

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