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By Isabelle Guillaume
Recently, an email announced that Townsend Harris established a new single-stall bathroom on the third floor in room 326.
Done in accordance with a citywide initiative, the restroom is meant to accommodate those with additional needs for privacy, such as those with medical conditions and disabilities. It also serves as a safe space for transgender and non-gender conforming students.
The email, sent on May 29, stated, “Single-stall student restrooms are aligned with the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines, which permit students to use bathrooms and other school facilities that align with their gender identity without special permission or medical documentation.”
Junior Yasmeen Razaq commented, “Unlike the gender-neutral bathroom, it provides privacy. The students going in don’t feel embarrassed to be in the bathroom with a member of the opposite gender or a fellow classmate.”
Townsend Harris is one of the presently increasing number of high schools in NYC that has responded to the Department Of Education initiative, which Chancellor Fariña announced on May 2, to put single-stall bathrooms in all New York City schools.
Like her peers, junior Dana Zheng supported this motive, saying, “Sexuality is an influential factor in a school environment. We need to recognize these differences within our community and help accommodate their needs.”
By January 2018, all NYC schools should have single-stall bathrooms just like Townsend’s.
“I hope it [the decision to designate a single-stall bathroom] will show that Townsend Harris is an inclusive environment that’s supportive of individuals’ choices and backgrounds,” remarked Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA) director Sarah Oberlander. “We want to provide a safe environment for students to learn in.”