UNISEX TOILETS: Culloden Academy grandparent Judith Reid says Highland Council consultation on unisex toilets was 'frankly appalling' as single sex toilets are allocated in the Inverness school
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Parents and pupils at an Inverness secondary school say they are “relieved” after Highland Council reversed a decision about unisex-only toilets in the school.
Many were shocked when Culloden Academy reopened after the summer holidays and pupils were forced to share toilets, with no single-sex alternative.
Some pupils refused to use them.
Saying they had not been consulted on the move, and after only a few days into the new term, parents launched a campaign to have single-sex toilets in the school reinstated – which will now happen.
Parent Cecilia Grigor started an online group – The Highland Council Academy Toilets – that gained more than 600 members within hours, raising concerns about the unisex toilets.
She said: “We are not opposing unisex toilets, but what we are asking for is choice for pupils, and we feel that prior to making the decision we should have been consulted.”
Businessman Lance Hill, who has three children at the school, said: “Everybody wants inclusion and focuses on the minority and while that is not wrong in every context, in the case of simple things like gender and toilets it is. Why confuse children? Why stress them?
“Just as in the way we run our business, our employees would expect to be consulted.
“Parents should have been consulted in this case, it’s common courtesy.”
Grandparent Judith Reid said: “The U-turn by Highland Council has been welcomed by the Culloden Academy community, and we are delighted that the council has seen sense and overturned their initial decision to have exclusively unisex toilets.
“However, the lack of consultation or communication with teachers, parents and pupils over the initial decision, which eroded safe spaces for young female pupils, and left pupils of both sexes uncomfortable, has been frankly appalling, and I am not entirely convinced that this will be a one-off.”
A Highland Council spokesman said the new toilet block had been commissioned to meet the needs of a growing school roll, and had been completed over the summer holiday.
He said: “An interim arrangement was put in place at the start of the new session until the S5/S6 toilets are completed, with the new toilet areas being unisex.
“Following feedback from pupils during the first week, this has been reviewed and the S1/S2 toilets are to be re-designated as boys’ toilets and the S3/S4 toilets as girls’ toilets with effect from Monday [August 23] morning.
“However, there will be ongoing dialogue with pupils in the coming weeks.”