A Central Illinois school district has removed the doors from restroom stalls, angering parents and students alike, Yahoo News is reporting. Some girls are reportedly bringing blankets from home so they can have privacy. Officials, however, insist it’s necessary after someone wrote a note threatening a school shooting on a stall wall.
School officials in Beardstown have been taking several precautions after discovering the note. It remains unclear, as of this writing, what the note said, specifically, other than that it threatened a school shooting. According to Springfield’s WICS-TV, those precautions include allowing entry into and exit from the high school through only one door and conducting random searches.
But it’s the removal of doors from the bathroom stalls that has reportedly galled the students, especially the female ones, and their parents.
Student Juan Juarez said that some of his female classmates are coming up with clever solutions to the problem of lack of privacy.
“Mostly girls have been bringing blankets from their house and hanging it up in the stalls so people can’t see them… Yesterday people started putting their shoes and boots in front of the stall so people would know they’re in the bathroom.”
School officials, recognizing that girls have different biological needs than boys, have said that girls can use the school’s only private restroom, which is in the nurse’s station. However, that option means that girls are missing class time, especially considering that they often have to wait to use the one private restroom in the school.
Beardstown superintendent Ron Gilbert told The Peoria Journal Star that he understands that concerns about privacy, but says that student safety is his top priority.
“Restrooms are for one purpose only. We understand everyone’s concerns. We’re not going to put people in situations that are harmful to anyone. If you’re going to spend a bunch of time in there not using the restroom for what it’s for, you have to take some measures to keep everybody safe.”
Gilbert also said that he’s gotten some messages of concern from some parents, but added that 85 percent of the communication he’s received has been positive.
This is not the first time a school has removed the stall doors from its restroom stalls. As Kalispell, Montana, radio station CFBG-FM reported at the time, officials at Marion High School removed stall doors from bathrooms after vandalism was discovered. The principal ordered the doors re-installed a week later.