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Waterloo High Schools Remove Washroom Doors and Mirrors for 'Safety Reasons'

Some Waterloo Region District secondary schools have decided to remove the exterior doors from washrooms due to "public health concerns around congregating."

The controversial decision has been met with outrage by parents — who have gone onto social media to voice their anger about the lack of privacy. Many of their concerns echoed those of parents in Sackville, N.B., where a school removed doors this month to curb vaping in washrooms, but reversed the decision after backlash in the community.

Ashley McBride learned about the change when her daughter, who attends Jacob Hespeler Secondary School, texted her a photo of the washroom with its doors removed.

McBride said she was frustrated as both a parent and an alumna. "The bathroom is a rare place where students can go for a moment alone, she said, which isn't possible with the exterior door taken off."

"I just feel like teenagers are always looked at like they're bad, or they're just a menace," said McBride.

"They're still human, and they still deserve that privacy and that moment of [solitude] when they're in the bathroom. I just don't agree with it."

The board said some mirrors have also been moved, to prevent people walking by from seeing a reflection of those inside the washroom.

Education professor Jennifer Ingrey also criticized the move.

"I don't understand any reasonable purpose for going to these lengths in the name of discipline," said Ingrey, noting her concern about how the removal of washroom doors might affect students who disabled students, or otherwise anyone who might want to duck into the bathroom for a moment to collect themselves.

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