Unisex bathroom replaces men’s faculty restroom


Photo Credit: Beth Keefe

A sign indicating the unisex bathroom located in the junior hallway was installed shortly after winter break, a step toward making the school more accessible.

by Beth Keefe, Managing Editor

Glen Rock High School has implemented a policy change for the bathroom in the junior hallway, changing the former male faculty to restroom to a unisex lavatory usable by both students and faculty members.

Last month, Principal John Arlotta reached out to the Director of Buildings and Grounds to explore the possibilities of a new bathroom. Arlotta wanted to provide students and staff with a single stall bathroom that would provide more privacy than traditional bathrooms.

With few locations to choose from, and the possibility of adding a brand new bathroom being financially expensive for the district, the administration decided to use the former men’s faculty bathroom.

“I had a dialogue with our student’s assistance councilor and we kind of talked about being progressive and trying to be more inclusive,” Arlotta said. “If you go to department stores or something you’ll see some of these unisex bathrooms.”

As the announcement of the re-purposed bathroom came into discussion, students had different opinions on it.

Junior student Tim Fink felt that the bathroom could “draw attention” to the individuals who use it, something they might want to avoid.

“Also,” Fink said, “there is no male faculty bathroom now because of it, which isn’t a good thing. Some people may not be comfortable with a teacher in the student bathroom [sic].”

Arlotta said that he had spoken to teachers about the bathroom.

It’s a lot more broad than I think we’re used to. In school it’s always ‘that is that’ and ‘this is this.’ We’re trying to be a little more inclusive.

— John Arlotta, Principal

“We definitely did run it by the teachers to see,” he said, “but nobody really expressed any displeasure.”

When Arlotta considered that the high school was lacking a bathroom that could accommodate anyone, he took it into his own hands to find a way to solve the problem.

“When I went to school, we didn’t have handicap accessibility, but you realize there are certain needs and so forth. It’s something that certainly is a good thing,” Arlotta said.

As for restrictions on the bathroom and who may use it, Arlotta said, “It can be adults, it can be kids, it can be anybody.”

“It’s a lot more broad than I think we’re used to. In school it’s always ‘that is that’ and ‘this is this.’ We’re trying to be a little more inclusive.”

Although this alteration may be something students and staff members may need grow accustomed to, Arlotta is confident that students will use the bathroom respectfully and has high hopes that the policy change will go smoothly.

According to Arlotta, this was a change that needed to be made.

“We started realizing, especially in today’s world, that it might be a good idea to give students more options in terms of privacy,” Arlotta said.