The Chicago Public Schools system will no longer have girls' and boys' bathrooms, but instead will have gender-neutral restrooms where all sexes are welcome.
The Chicago Public Schools system launched an initiative to abolish sex-specific bathrooms and transform them into restrooms where "all who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom" regardless of their gender.
CPS Title IX officer Camie Pratt introduced the sweeping new changes in a video posted on social media.
"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," Pratt says in the video. "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," she continues.
"We will be providing all schools with updated signage that makes our bathrooms more inclusive," Pratt adds. "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."
Pratt explains the deadline to change to the new signage: "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."
Pratt notes that school teachers will continue to have "Staff Only" restrooms available.
Chicago Public Schools touted the new signs on its official Twitter account: "We’re requiring all schools to adopt new signage to make our restrooms more inclusive. This is a big step forward for gender equity for our students and staff."
The signs have descriptions such as:
- "Gender Neutral Washroom"
- "All Gender Restroom. This is a single-stall restroom. All gender identities and expressions are welcome here."
- "This is a gender-neutral restroom with multiple stalls. It is open to users of any gender identity or expression."
- "Men's +: This restroom has both urinals and stalls. All who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom."
- "Women's +: This restroom has stalls. All who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom."
There have been issues with gender-neutral school restrooms in the past.
There was a 2019 report that female British students were avoiding drinking liquids and holding their bladders all day in an effort to avoid having to use gender-neutral bathrooms at some U.K. schools.
In 2020, a Wisconsin high school shut down its gender-neutral restroom after one of its students was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a young victim inside.