The new toilet facilities for pupils in Dunbar Grammar School’s new building has a row of sinks separating two lines of floor to ceiling cubicles but no gender signs.
The school, which has retained its separate boys and girls toilets in the old building, has undergone a huge extension to cope with East Lothian’s growing population and saw £10.38million invested in creating an extended facility.
Education bosses said the design was in keeping with modern secondary schools and major public facilities in Scotland, pointing out that the cubicles are completely enclosed to protect privacy.
But it led to an angry debate on the town’s online community Facebook page after one grandmother expressed her initial “disgust” at the move.
She said: “In a high school full of teenagers with raging hormones what the h*ll are they thinking this is a recipe for disaster.”
She was backed by some people while others defended the school’s choice accusing her of ignorance and being “of a generation”.
One transgender person pointed out that gender neutral toilets allowed transgender peoples to feel safe without singling them out adding that they were constantly harassed and even attacked for using the correct bathroom.
One woman responded “A toilet is a toilet. I don’t think it should be seen as anything else.”
The new toilets are entered through an open archway which allows people to see into the sink area at all times.
A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “The toilets in the new part of the building have been developed with a specification common in other secondary schools and major public facilities in Scotland.
“The cubicles are enclosed from floor-to-ceiling to provide complete privacy. A row of sinks down a central dividing wall further splits the space.
“The pre-existing, designated toilets will remain available in other parts of the school building, giving pupils a choice of facilities.
“Feedback on this arrangement from the staff teams, pupils and many within the Dunbar community has been positive.
“We look forward to pupils and staff moving into the new areas of the building and benefiting from the investment.”
Unisex toilets in schools are not new and have been promoted as part of any new builds. Lasswade High School in Midlothian was one of the first schools to pilot them in 2015 as part of a Scottish Futures Trust project.
Dunbar Grammar is the first to introduce them in East Lothian’s schools.
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