Hanover County is within the means of Changing John M. Gandy Elementary College in Ashland. Plans for the brand new constructing, mentioned at a college board assembly final week, embody nongendered, single-occupant loos.

Particular person bathrooms will likely be behind floor-to-ceiling partitions, whereas the sink space will likely be open to the hallway.

“These bathroom rooms are open to the hall. Every particular person stall, the doorways go from the ground as much as the ceiling, and there’s no hole,” stated Josh Bower, an architect on the challenge, in the course of the board assembly. “Each single stall has full privateness.”

A Hanover County official additionally advised VPM Information in an electronic mail that along with enhancing privateness, the varsity’s rest room structure will assist defend college students.

“The first aim of this design is to extend scholar security, which is of paramount significance to us, and reduce potential injury to restrooms. As an illustration, we anticipate this design will assist cut back situations of bullying, preventing, and vandalism that happen in these areas,” wrote Hanover County Public College spokesperson Chris Whitley.

Wes Perkins, a professor at Hobart and William Smith Faculties in New York state, stated that displays the standard perception that the majority bullying happens in areas with low supervision, like loos. However a 2014 examine in center faculties carried out by Perkins and his colleagues discovered that wasn’t the case.

“The massive image was that extra bullying was being skilled within the hallways, school rooms and within the lunchroom,” he stated. “In a single sense, it shouldn’t be stunning due to the period of time that’s spent [in those areas].”

Perkins stated the person stalls will not finish bullying, however they may assist stop it in loos, the place analysis reveals transgender college students typically really feel unsafe.

“If [students] can have these individualized rooms the place they don’t seem to be there with someone else, they might really feel definitely extra privateness, considerably extra safety,” he stated. “Bullying charges in these type of environments … could happen a lot lower than it’s now.”

Whitley stated HCPS plans to make use of the single-occupant rest room design for all of the elementary faculties it is planning to construct in the course of the subsequent 5 years. Presently, Battlefield Park and Washington-Henry elementary faculties in Mechanicsville are slated for alternative, along with Gandy.

The toilet structure is just not anticipated to have an effect on the associated fee to construct the brand new faculties, in keeping with Whitley.

Rendering of a bathroom design.
Particular person bathrooms at a deliberate faculty in Ashland will likely be behind floor-to-ceiling partitions, whereas the sink space will likely be open to the hallway. (Picture: Courtesy Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates)

Stopping faculty bullying

Perkins stated Hanover County should nonetheless vigilantly pursue anti-bullying measures, particularly people who goal harassment that happens throughout class. His 2014 examine additionally discovered that college students bullied within the classroom skilled extra worry than these bullied in different places.

One technique Perkins urged to fight bullying: brazenly speaking to kids about how widespread it’s. About 25-30% of scholars have interaction in bullying, however college students understand it to be extra widespread than that.

“In the event that they suppose that the majority others are doing it, then really extra college students have interaction within the bullying than would in any other case,” he stated.

In a 2011 examine, Perkins and his coauthors discovered that by displaying posters in a college that reported correct, native knowledge about how unusual bullying was, the habits was lowered.

“Outcomes confirmed important reductions in problematic misperceptions of the prevalence of bullying and of peer help for bullying and simultaneous reductions in private bullying behaviors and experiences of victimization,” the examine stated. “College students have been additionally extra supportive of reporting bullying to high school authorities and oldsters and so they got here to imagine that friends extra typically supported this habits than was beforehand considered the case.”

Perkins warned that folks, academics and directors ought to be lively in stopping bullying — irrespective of the varsity and its design.

“We analyzed this knowledge and broke it down by sorts of faculties — massive faculties, small faculties, middle-sized faculties — and that did not matter,” he stated. “We won’t say that that is one thing the place folks would possibly suppose, ‘Effectively, not at our faculty, it has a special social and demographic attribute.”

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