Students are not impressed with how their concerns are being handled at Sturgeon Composite High School (SCHS).
Before school started in September, all washrooms were changed to gender-neutral. Grade 11 student Evan Gabbey, along with his brother and classmates started a petition opposing the changes, it received well over 300 signatures.
A Sturgeon Public School Division meeting on Wednesday (November 22) didn’t solve student’s gender-neutral and gender-specific washroom concerns.
In under two minutes of discussion, the board chose not to make any changes to the current washroom designations.
On Tuesday, the school opened another bank of washrooms at the north end that are gender-specific.
"(The north washrooms) had already been opened and designated, so their decision had clearly been made before they actually went to the meeting," said Gabbey.
Gabbey and parents requested permission to speak at the public portion of the board meeting, but their request was denied.
"We're getting rather frustrated because they don't want to hear us," added Gabbey. "They're not putting the student’s interest in mind. They don't really want to hear our input on this subject and they're doing everything they can to make us unheard."
Now, SCHS has a total of 11 female, 11 male and 19 gender-neutral washroom stalls.
A newsletter was sent out to parents on Monday, informing them the north washroom was opened after construction.
"When we're a ways into this whole fiasco it's now that they're finally spreading the word that these washrooms are open and they're designated as this."
One of the main concerns by students and parents are privacy issues in the gender-neutral washrooms, with only 3/4 size doors and gaps in stall walls.
Terry Jewell, chair of Sturgeon Public School Division doesn’t believe it’s a concern.
“About the only way you can get in there is if you lay down on the floor and most people don't lay down on the floor beside toilets in public institutions," said Jewell.
"I wish students would speak up more. For how long we've been dealing with this a lot of students have just got to the point where they just don't really care anymore and just accepted the fact that they won't be heard," mentioned Gabbey.
Students have also reached out to teachers and principals in SCHS with no assistance.
"(Principal Baldassarre) directed us and said the board makes the decisions and the board has many times told us (Baldassarre) makes the decisions," commented Gabbey.
According to Gabbey, there will be no further proceedings by the board on the issue.

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