New bathrooms progress towards gender inclusion


Maren Ostrem

A short history of transgender rights in Minnesota

Maren Ostrem , The Rubicon Editor

St. Paul Academy and Summit School students have many impressive opportunities with the recent additions to the school which include, 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, and more. The Schilling Center contains plenty of amazing equipment and spaces that students can use academically or at their leisure. The public gathering spaces are the perfect place to study and socialize. The classrooms are pleasant to be in, with plenty of space, whiteboards, and natural light. Teachers have offices that are easy to find for study help. However, the one special thing that many students don’t realize about the Schilling Center, is the single stall bathrooms.

The Gender Diversity Guidelines, which were released in January 2018, state that “Students may use the bathrooms that best meet their affirmed gender identity. In an effort to ensure the privacy of all students, the school offers single-person bathrooms and will strive to design multi-use restrooms with individual privacy in mind. Any students may use the single-person bathrooms.”

Before the addition of the Schilling Center, there were approximately three or four single-stall bathrooms on the entire campus. One of these bathrooms is in the Huss Center, at the end of the long hallway from Redleaf Commons to Driscoll Commons. While this bathroom was included in the Huss Center in an effort to provide privacy for students who desire it, particularly non-cisgender students, it was incredibly impractical for students because of the walk all the way to the far corner of Huss. Not only that, but the restroom was often locked from the inside, as there was an incident involving inappropriate behavior.

The Schilling single stall bathrooms were designed specifically to fix these problems. The new bathrooms are located in a central area of Schilling, between study areas and classrooms. This resolves the issue of having to go out of one’s way to find a bathroom. The risk of inappropriate behavior decreases because there are so many students and teachers near the bathrooms, it is much more unlikely that any inappropriate behavior will be attempted.

“I think [the bathrooms are] important especially for nonbinary students and faculty to have because then they don’t have to feel glued to one gender and be forced to choose which one to use. They should be able to go to the bathroom without having to gender themselves,”  Grace Krasny said.

I think [the bathrooms are] important especially for nonbinary students and faculty to have because then they don’t have to feel glued to one gender and be forced to choose which one to use.”

— Grace Krasny

In addition to this, there are enough of the single stall bathrooms so there are very rarely lines. The fact that the single stall bathrooms are the only option in Schilling also limits any shame or embarrassment felt by students who prefer privacy over the public bathrooms. For students who are non-cisgender, but not public about their identity, this lowers the chance of any accidental outing.

“I think they’re nice. If you don’t identify, or your sex doesn’t fit with your gender, and you don’t want to go in a certain bathroom, you can just use one of those,” said Senior Joe Kase.

When the Gender Diversity Guidelines came out last year, many were interested to see what aspects of student life would be changing in the following year. Some may even have been worried about what inconveniences that would arise for the student body in during everyday life. The addition of the single stall bathrooms in Schilling was so subtle yet effective, that students may not have even noticed, but for those who had previously been uncomfortable in school bathrooms, the change made SPA a more welcoming and comfortable community to be a part of.

Originally published in November 2018 Edition of The Rubicon.