Toronto

Peel region high schools to get gender-neutral bathrooms

Every secondary school run by the Peel District School Board will get a gender neutral bathroom by the end of the school year, the board's director announced.

Bathrooms to be labelled 'inclusive washroom'

Peel high schools will soon get gender-neutral washrooms, the board's director of education said. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

Every secondary school run by the Peel District School Board will get a gender neutral bathroom by the end of this school year.

Tony Pontes, the board's director of education, announced the plan at a speech kicking off the new school year on Wednesday. In his remarks, Pontes said it's crucial to provide a safe place for transgender students and staff.

"Safe is more than physically safe … it is also emotionally safe," Pontes said.

Any student or teacher who feels they need to use the space will be able to use it. Signage around the bathroom will say "inclusive washroom."

In many cases, the board plans to convert existing facilities. The board may expand the programs to middle schools in the future.

During his remarks, Pontes also said the board needs to address gay-straight alliance clubs in its middle schools.

"The students are here, and they need our support."

The board is also working on a list of guidelines surrounding gender identity, Pontes said. 

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