02/17/2016 05:27 EST | Updated 02/18/2016 03:59 EST

TDSB Washrooms: Toronto School Board Is Breaking Down Bathroom Barriers

The TDSB wants to make schools more inclusive for students.

Jonathan Kirn via Getty Images
Eleven-year-old girl walks into school bathroom.

The Toronto District School Board will be implementing all-gender washrooms in public schools across the city to make the learning environment more inclusive for students. These washrooms will be available to all kids, regardless of gender identity or expression.

In a statement, Education Minister Liz Sandals said the Ontario government supports the TDSB’s plans. “It is our government’s priority to ensure all students feel safe and accepted at school. Our government has invested over $425 million in safe schools initiatives that are helping make Ontario's schools some of the safest in the world,” she said.

“The Education Act requires schools and school boards to provide safe, inclusive and accepting learning environments to support the achievement and well-being of all students, including students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”

In Toronto, about 50 public schools already have gender-inclusive washrooms, reports CTV News. The first all-gender washroom opened at City View Public School in June 2013 after students spent months petitioning for one. The kids’ campaign was sparked after the Ontario Human Rights Code changed in 2012 to include transgender individuals.

Since then, the TDSB has worked towards placing all-gender washrooms in every public school across the city, in addition to boy and girl washrooms.

Thus far, the public’s response to the TDSB's plans has been overwhelmingly positive. One anonymous transgender boy, who was taken out of public school due to bullying, told CBC News that he’s glad to see this positive addition to schools.

“Everybody gets a chance to use the washroom,” he said. “If there's anybody who is gender-neutral or something, they can use that washroom instead of everybody teasing them about going into the girls’ or boys’ [washroom].”

The TDSB does not yet have a timeline for rolling out the new washrooms across the city’s remaining public schools. However, their initiative has inspired other Toronto-area school boards to take on similar initiatives.


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