BFA’s Moves Toward Inclusion


Outside a gender-neutral bathroom at BFA. Photo credit: Brooke Holland

Adelyne Collin, Editor

Bellow Free Academy has made some steps to create a more inclusive classroom and school environment by designating certain bathrooms as gender-neutral and by providing pronoun updates in PowerSchool.

Nicole Schubert, math teacher and advisor for the Social Justice Club, agrees that access to gender-neutral bathrooms has benefitted students at BFA.

“The intention of them is to be available to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in a regular restroom or a multi-stalled bathroom,” Schubert said.

There is currently one gender-neutral bathroom at the corner of the math and band hallway, one in the connector next to BFA’s Dean of Students, Matt Bloom’s, office, one on each floor of the science building and one near the Community Integration Program (CIP).

“I think [gender-neutral bathrooms] make people feel safe, most importantly, [and] I know I’ve definitely been a person who hasn’t felt safe in a bathroom with multiple stalls,” Schubert said.

According to Schubert, recently the gender-neutral bathroom in the South building has been locked due to vandalism issues.

“I think that that’s more of a bigger problem with the [TikTok “devious licks”] trend. The hand sanitizer was broken, and people have been writing on the walls in there, so now it’s locked. But again, it’s still available, and I have students come in and ask me to unlock it, and it’s no problem,” Schubert said.

In addition to gender-neutral bathrooms, BFA’s PowerSchool education software has been updated to allow a student’s preferred pronouns to be displayed.

“[The icon] pops up right away, it’s purple, it’s easy to see [and] it’s different than the other icons. I notice them immediately in all my classes, and I think it’s helpful for students. I [also] think it’s important for students to still mention [their pronouns] to their teachers at least one time, but hopefully, more teachers will be taking notice of that [feature],” Schubert said.