TAYLOR, Ark. (KTBS) — When a father in Taylor, Ark., noticed his daughter wasn’t comfortable using the restrooms at her elementary school, he started asking questions.
“Boys and girls do not belong in the bathroom together,” said father Chase Lindsey. “In today’s world, places are saying it is okay.”
The school superintendent says the “Jack and Jill” style restrooms in Taylor Elementary School have been that way since 1970 and there’s never been an issue.
With the restrooms’ layout, the only time boys and girls would be in there at the same time are at the sinks, shared between two classrooms. But that’s not okay for Lindsey.
“Even if they’re fully enclosed stalls, you shouldn’t come out of your stall and see a boy at the sink. That’s wrong,” added Lindsey.
His 5-year-old daughter was not comfortable using the restrooms and has wet herself twice. Lindsey says his daughter told him a boy in the other classroom tried to get in the girls restroom before, but wasn’t sure if anyone was in the stall or not.
Since then, the school has taken steps to prevent it from happening again, although that doesn’t mean making changes to the restroom layout.
“We accommodated his daughter’s insecurity and she has been using the private bathroom in the office,” said Principal Robby Frizzell.
The school superintendent says they’ll accommodate any child who’s uncomfortable.
“We try to meet the needs of the kids, no matter what it is,” Superintendent Gary Hines said.
The only way a child could walk in on another student, is if the child isn’t locking the door, he said.
“If you don’t close the door properly and activate the lock, then someone could open it. So it’s also a good time to teach proper bathroom etiquette,” Hines said.
Lindsey and a couple of other fathers took their concerns to the school board, which deferred to the school. The principal and superintendent say it’s never been an issue before. Teachers monitor restroom breaks and leave the doors leading into the bathroom open nearly all the time.
“Our policy is, when a student goes to the restroom, as the teacher is teaching, she navigates toward the bathroom just to keep that observation of the students. Even with the privacy measures we already have in place, which are more sufficient,” Hines said.