Gender neutral bathrooms may become more common

School officials made the change this year

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Gender neutral bathrooms may become more common at schools in your area. The Fort River Elementary school in Amherst and the J.F.K Middle School in Northampton both offer its students unisex restrooms.

A parent of a 3rd grader at the Fort River Elementary in Amherst, Elizabeth Markovits, told 22News she’s glad the school has a bathroom that accommodates both sexes. She said, “He doesn’t want to go in the restroom that labeled women’s with me, but, 7-8 years old, not sure when to send him on his own, so I’ve always found the segregation of bathrooms really frustrating, as a parent of young children.”

School officials made the change this year.

Another school offering its students gender-neutral bathrooms is the J.F.K Middle School in Northampton. The main office has two unisex restrooms.

Principal Lesley Wilson told 22News two more will soon open on the second floor.

Last year Governor Baker signed a new law that allows transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities. Critics argued the law would put women, children, and their privacy at risk.

But parents 22News spoke with said they appreciate the privacy it gives their kids. Laurie Bliss of Belchertown told 22News, “I think it’s fabulous. I think you need to start off when they’re young, that way they’re more accepting as they get older.”

The Northampton Superintendents office said gender-neutral bathrooms will be opening in all Northampton schools.