Student Perspective: Bathroom Backlash

Poster on the door of the gender-neutral bathroom.  Photo credit: Rachel Ledoux

Poster on the door of the gender-neutral bathroom. Photo credit: Rachel Ledoux

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

Please note:  This is part of a student perspective series by Rachel Ledoux.

According to Bellows Free Academy’s Dean of Students, Matt Bloom, due to the recent streak of vandalism and misconduct in Bellows Free Academy bathrooms, administrators have had to make some changes to the way students are able to access the bathrooms.

Amidst sign-out sheets and bathroom closings, there has also been a change with one of BFA’s two gender-neutral bathrooms.

Located in the band/chorus hallway of the south building, the bathroom was meant as a step towards inclusion for gender non-conforming students at BFA. Recent behavior, however, has prompted faculty members to partially close the bathroom.

According to Bloom, the bathroom was locked due to, “vandalism and unexpected behavior from students.”

Now, if a student wants to use that bathroom, they’ll have to ask one of the nearby teachers to unlock it for them.

This new rule has prompted backlash and confusion from many students, particularly those who identify under the trans or non-binary umbrella.

“[The bathroom being closed] doesn’t make any sense,” said Taro Ditch (‘23). “Especially since it’s the only gender-neutral bathroom in the south building.”

Some students added that, although they understand the reasoning behind the rule, it’s only harming the students who actually use the restroom.

“It’s a real inconvenience,” Brooke Valentine (‘25) said. 

Many students expressed discomfort with having to ask for the bathroom to be unlocked as well.

“I have to walk to the women’s bathroom now, since I’m not comfortable outing myself to a teacher,” said Natalie Cronin (‘25). “It’s all the way across the building, so it really sucks.”

This was corroborated by Rori Getty (‘24), who mentioned that, “Sometimes I just don’t use the bathroom because of it . . . or I’ll walk over to the Tech Center and use that one.”

According to Bloom, he and other faculty hadn’t been aware of the impact this bathroom closing has had on students. Bloom says that they will, “look at ways of making it more appropriately accessible for students.”

The common thread amongst those The Mercury spoke with, though, is that it isn’t fair that the poor actions of a few students are harming others.  

“It’s really unfortunate that the negative actions and choices of some students negatively impacts the rights and access of others,” Bloom said.