Fostering an Inclusive Environment


Both single use restrooms are located in the band hallway.

Ella Vaught, Editor-in-Chief

Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, the Virginia Department of Education has created new policies regarding inclusivity of schools. Each school division is required to create new policies aimed at creating more inclusive environments in Virginia schools. Here, the state aims to see students feel more comfortable as themselves in Virginia public school systems. In response to this, schools have been asked to create new policies and find solutions to make all students feel welcomed and safe. In Rockbridge County Public Schools, efforts are being made to create and utilize single use restrooms in order to ensure the comfort of all students. No matter how a student identifies, they are allowed to use these single use restrooms.

  The two single use restrooms are located in the band hallway, directly next to the band room. Each restroom contains a single toilet and sink, with toilet paper, soap, and paper towel dispensers. Each restroom also states “men” or “women” on the door, however each restroom is the exact same. 

Dr. Bradley, the teacher sponsor of the Sexuality and Gender Awareness club, or SAGA, said, “I hope that students who want to use the bathroom will know about it and know their rights as transgender students.” 

Bradley also said, “I wish there was more clarity for teachers on the topic,” and he hopes to see the school become a more equal and inclusive place for everyone. 

The Rockbridge County School Board has additionally created a Frequently Asked Questions sheet. Here, the school board outlines more specifically the guidelines of the restrooms.

The document states, “that school  administration may offer a single-user restroom facility to a transgender student — or any  student — but the division cannot require a transgender student to use such a facility.” This has been based on the United States Court of Appeals case, Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board as well as Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. 

In addition to the bathroom policies, the document outlines when and how a student will be considered transgender by the school, clarifies that the school system does not “teach” gender identity or transgenderism, as well as how Rockbridge County Public Schools will handle school records of transgender students, such as the changing of name and sex in official school documents.

Additional information can be found in the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools or in the RCPS School Board FAQs Regarding Nondiscrimination