A school in Merseyside, England, decided to remove the wall from the front of the girls’ toilet block, and parents are angry. Parents of the students of St. Mary’s College in Wallasey are now reportedly keeping their children home in protest. They claim that the school’s decision to remove the front wall from the girls’ toilet is making their children feel “scared and unsafe.”
The school reportedly decided to remove the walls in order to meet the toilets open plan. The school believes that the new layout will help reduce smoking, bullying, and truancy, meaning that students will no longer be able to skip class and hide behind the toilet walls between lessons. St. Mary’s has however apparently overlooked one major issue – that of privacy. According to the Independent, the toilet cubical doors are now exposed to the open corridor. Furthermore, there is a CCTV camera and at least one classroom in clear sight of the toilet.
One of the parents, Tara Hodgson Jones, spoke to the Independent regarding the issue. Ms. Hodgson has a daughter in year 11 and a son in year nine at the school and says that she saw the new plans herself while she was at the school on Friday during a parent-teacher meeting. She claims that like herself, her sister and her neighbors are planning to keep their children home in protest.
“My daughter told me about it on Thursday but I thought she was making a big deal over nothing until I saw it for myself.”
Ms. Hodgson claims that the school is wrong to believe that the new plan will help reduce smoking, bullying or truancy.
“If the problem is bullying, smoking and skipping class they could have approached it in so many other ways. My daughter was bullied in year 10 and that was in the classroom, the yard and the lunch hall, so thinking that taking a toilet wall down will stop it is stupid.
“As for smoking, put alarms in. As for skipping class, use frosted glass so teachers can see shapes when they walk past.”
Ms. Hodgson says that the new arrangements are making her daughter feel scared and unsafe. And she says that she wants this issue resolved as soon as possible since her daughter will be sitting the GCSEs this year.
“I want this resolving – my daughter sits her GCSEs this year so this (keeping her home) is an extreme measure on my part.”
Furthermore, Ms. Hodgson claims that the school is doing the same for the boys’ toilets and says that she will be keeping her son home too if they do so.
“We tried to talk to my son’s head of year about it but he said he couldn’t comment and that we would have to make an appointment with the head teacher on Monday, which we will be doing.”
St. Mary’s College is a voluntarily aided academy, meaning that it operates without governance by a local authority. Students aged 11 to 19 attend the school.