Pupils in schools are allegedly too afraid to use unisex toilets over fears of ‘period shaming’ from boys and ‘sexual harassment’, campaigners warn.
A growing number of schools are ditching separate sex toilets claiming they are not inclusive to transgender children and are a breeding ground for bullying.
But some girls are avoiding going to the toilet during school hours because of cruel taunts from boys and a lack of privacy, according to the Daily Express.
And some girls even avoid drinking water so that they will not have to use the toilet.
A parent of a secondary school girl told the newspaper that ‘boys are always speculating on whether girls are having their periods according to how long they take in the toilet.’
Feminist campaigners Women’s Voices Wales claims that the ‘safety and dignity’ of girls at school is being neglected.
The group found pupils, parents and staff are often too embarrassed to complain about the unisex loos and has called for a policy to be reviewed.
Helen Raynor, a spokesperson, told the newspaper that no school girl should feel like they are unable to use the toilet.
She said: ‘No child should avoid school, or stop drinking water so they don’t wee. Girls cannot “hold periods in”.’
A Welsh Government spokesman said that it will review the findings to see ‘whether further guidance’ is required. It added that when schools are built ‘stakeholders’ are consulted ‘to ensure the school offers facilities that are fit for purpose’.
One of the first schools in the UK to adopt unisex toilets was a secondary school in Stockport, near Manchester in 2000.
The headteacher argued that the move stopped bullying, vandalism and smoking in the loos.
Since then hundreds of schools have adopted the approach. But it has sparked rows among parents, staff and children, with some refusing to attend school over the controversial move.