Administration removes locks from gender neutral bathrooms


illustration by Riley Gunderson

Katherine Schurer, staff reporter

The locks on the gender neutral bathrooms were removed this school year due to students who were making poor decisions in the bathrooms in the past, according to Dean Ronald Bean.

Some students took advantage of the lock and saw it as an opportunity to make unwise decisions without supervision, Bean says.

“[The bathrooms] lock from the inside and we had some situations where students were making some poor choices,” Bean said.

Principal Lauren Fagel says that because they used to lock that there should only be one occupant. However, there were many occurrences when that rule was disobeyed.

“We were trying to emphasize that only one person should be there at a time,” Fagel said. “Because it locks … we had instances that more than one student was going in.”

According to Bean, the biggest worry with students being able to lock the doors was that faculty would be unaware of what was going on inside, especially in an emergency.

“There were a number of situations where we were concerned about things that were going on in the bathrooms,” Bean said. “The student’s ability to lock the doors from the inside prohibited us from making sure those were a safe space.”

A specific committee at South works through issues like this, while also focusing on maintaining a welcoming and comfortable environment for the LGBTQ community, Bean says.

“There is a committee made up of adults in the building that continue to look at issues surrounding the LGBTQ community and safety,” Bean said. “But my hope is that we continue to do things at Glenbrook South so that all kids feel safe at all times.”

According to Dean Damien Braude, and a member of the committee, the committee is constantly working on different ways in which they can support students.

“[We’re] looking at our spaces and re-accessing and learning more to see how we can evolve and continue to serve,” Braude said. “We will continue to support [students] in as many different ways that we possibly can.”

Dr. Lara Cummings, assistant principal of student services, and another member of the committee, agrees with Braude that they are always striving to make the school environment a safe space.

“I think we are constantly evaluating all areas of the building to make sure all aspects are safe for all.” Cummings said. “[For example], there are changing stations in both locker rooms which I think helps provide safety for all.”

Despite the changes that were made to the gender neutral bathrooms, Bean seeks to maintain his goal for all students.

“My goal is to ensure that this is a safe place both physically, socially, and emotionally for all students,” Bean said.