Universal bathrooms in all Hillsborough schools coming this fall

Posted at 8:04 PM, Jul 19, 2016

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"These have been faculty restrooms in the past,” said Jefferson High School Principal Robert Quinn.

Soon, these bathrooms will be for students.

"I don't think that it's a big change for us,” explained Quinn.

Those students may identify as transgender.

"We've always believed that no student should be bullied or harassed based on gender identity,” said Principal Quinn.

Single-stall, private bathrooms will be in every Hillsborough County school when school starts this fall.

This is one of the restrooms they'll use at Jefferson High School. Nothing's going to change in here. It's just the signs have to come down, and also this one on the outside will be replaced.

Signs that say "Universal" will go up. 

Any student, male, female, transgender or otherwise can use them, but principals like Quinn say it's more than just bathrooms.

"Making sure we are respecting the wishes of students as far as the gender that they are identifying with and that we are honoring their request to be called by a certain name,” he said.

Every principal in Hillsborough County took two hours of sensitivity training to make sure they're using the correct terminology, being confidential and sensitive.

"They're also going to be designating an on-site coordinator, so that is someone that the parents and the students and the teachers can go to, and that person will be knowledgeable about what the school is doing,” said Hillsborough County Schools spokesperson Tanya Arja.

The district says it hasn't made a decision yet on letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice, pending specific instruction from the federal government.