Unisex toilets have been a hot topic for debate over the past couple of years, and there are many understandable reasons as to why so many feel passionate about this topic, whether for or against the idea.
But can unisex washrooms lower the rate of bullying and improve a child’s attendance at school?
Well, this as you may already know, is an area we feel passionate about, and one we want to express our thoughts and findings upon.
School toilets have come along way, even over the past decade, but it only takes us to go back to our own school days to remember perhaps witnessing a bully harassing their victim or being the victim or even the bully yourself within the four walls of the same sex school toilets.
Bullies knew they weren’t going to be seen or heard being nasty to the fellow pupil, and it was unlikely that they would be stopped or caught. Cowardly and emotionless, getting a kick from being vile to another human, the school toilet was perhaps the place to be the most vile towards a victim.
The toilets were possibly run down, with graffiti on the walls, so if any damage were done it wouldn’t be at the forefront of the school’s agenda to fix, and the culprit wouldn’t necessarily get caught.
Now let’s think if this would still be the case if the toilets were unisex?
If you were using the toilets would you feel safer, knowing that there would likely be more people entering and using the facilities, lowering the chances of being caught in the corner to be picked on?
If you were a bully would you feel confident enough to be nasty in a unisex toilet, knowing full well that both girls, and boys, even teachers could and would easily walk in on you and the abuse you’d prevail?
That your little corner for you to show your true colours to be nasty; would no longer exist?
The chances are no; the bully wouldn’t be brave enough as they deep down are the ones with the problem, and wouldn’t want to be caught and punished.
Unfortunately, bullying in the school washrooms has caused forty-three percent of children to be fearful that they too will succumb to harassment when in a same-sex toilet while at school.
This could and does lead students to sadly not attend school, resulting in them too missing out on developing and learning, to not have the opportunity to excel in their studies, and all because they feel unsafe.
Unisex toilets for a safer school environment
Take the problem of same-sex toilets away, create new unisex washrooms and that figure of forty-three percent, drops dramatically on the bullying front.
Unisex washrooms can throw other concerns up, understandably such as anyone and everyone having access to the loo’s, which may make children feel vulnerable in different ways.
For example, at secondary school, it is during this time of their life that both sexes are dramatically changing and because of this, they may feel vulnerable that the opposite sex may pick on them.
This feeling of vulnerability can be avoided by designing cubicles to have floor to ceiling doors and walls so that no-one can peep through over the top or under the door.
This current design of toilet cubicles is common in schools currently up and down the country, but outdated. By having complete privacy in a unisex toilet, the user can feel more at ease, no matter who uses it, and is something that should be a necessity in all schools.
A positive, comfortable and safe environment is what we all want for our children, and when they can feel this from something as simple as using the school’s facilities, this, in turn, helps them to concentrate and focus on their learning.
By taking away a negative space where bullying can no longer arise, and turning it into a positive, pleasant area, with modern facilities and an interior that is taken from colour psychology, will inevitably help towards calming pupils and reduce the chance of students missing school.
The fear of being bullied in what was once an uncomfortable and traumatic space no longer exists.
We’re not saying that it will completely eradicate bullying altogether, but it is a hugely positive step towards a safer environment, that you and your child no longer needs to worry about.