Chicago's school bathrooms go gender-neutral

With students falling behind academically in America's third largest city, adjusting labels for bathrooms was clearly a top priority for the schoolboard in Chicago.

Chicago's school bathrooms go gender-neutral
AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File
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Schools in Chicago are abolishing gender-based restrooms, following efforts to push trans inclusivity in public schools, the Chicago Public School District (CPS) has announced that it will require every school in the area to change its signage.

On Thursday, CPS made an announcement stating the removal of gendered restrooms, which are commonly separated into boys’ and girls’ restrooms. From now onwards, both restrooms will be open to members of either gender and the infinite number of “neo-genders.”

CPS released a video with words from Camie Pratt, the chief Title IX officer, and Deb Spraggins, the district’s deputy chief Title IX officer, who made the following statement, per the Daily Wire:

The new school year is off to a strong start as we’ve [sic] welcome our students back to our school buildings five days each week. On top of ensuring that each of our schools is a safe learning environment, we’re also taking steps to create more inclusive and supportive schools. One change that will be implemented this school year relates to our school bathrooms. 

In compliance with new federal guidelines, all CPS students and staff will have fair and equitable access to bathroom facilities that align with their gender identity. We will be providing all schools with updated signage that makes our bathrooms more inclusive. It will identify the fixtures available in each restroom and make it clear that all restrooms are open for use by anyone who feels comfortable. 

Staff will continue to have “Staff-Only” restrooms available to them. This is an incredibly important step to increase gender equity for all, which is why we will be requiring all schools to post this signage by December 1 of this school year. Our district’s Office of Student Protections and Title IX is also working on a long-term plan to create more permanent signage for our bathrooms. 

Examples of the new replacement signs include “This is a gender-neutral restroom with multiple stalls. It is open to users of any gender identity or expression,” and “Men’s +: This restroom has both urinals and stalls. All who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom.” 

Much of the response to CPS on social media came in the form of mockery and objections to the move, with many pointing out how uncomfortable the change is going to make girls feel.

Others pointed out how student grades in Chicago are spiralling, and that the school district’s decision to prioritize non-gendered bathrooms flies in the face of their supposed goal to educate Chicago’s children.

The Chicago Sun Times reported in 2016 that “barely one in four” children read at grade level. In other words, the majority of Chicago students are struggling to keep up with their counterparts across the country.

According to a more recent study, performed by Illinois Report Card, only 26 per cent of 11th graders are proficient at reading and math.

While particularly baffling to the average person, the move to prioritize social justice over academic proficiency falls in line with critical race and gender theory initiatives in schools.  

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