There is a divide between students and staff at Parry Sound High School.

Mariah Grottoli, 17, a student at the school said that two other students have created a petition which Grottoli says have over 325 student signatures that counter the school’s decision to remove the bathroom doors for safety.

The doors were removed last week.

The principal at PSHS, Dawn Buckland, told that the doors have “always” been propped open with chains but recent complaints about students feeling unsafe, the doors were removed permanently.

“We have spent a significant amount of time monitoring washrooms but we know that washrooms tend to be a place where students think they are out of range of adult vision. The main issue we were dealing with were students congregating in washrooms and other students felt unsafe walking through a group of students to use the washroom, “ Buckland said.

“It makes using the washroom about one hundred times more uncomfortable because everyone can see you from the hallway,” Grottoli said.

Buckland says she is most concerned with the safety and wellbeing of the majority of her students. She says that at a regularly scheduled a parent council meeting on Monday, she says parents were in support of removing bathroom doors.

At that meeting, Buckland says that a parent told her their child does not feel comfortable even using the washroom because of the students that gather there.

Buckland also issued the following statement :

“The washroom doors in the building have regularly been propped or chained open. A decision to permanently have the doors opened was made in response to concerns brought forward by students and after consultations with school council, Education Councillors of our First Nations and staff.    The consultations resulted in agreement and support for the decision to proceed with permanently having the washroom doors open.

Parents and guardians were notified by email in as to what was happening ahead of the removal of the doors.  Staff continue to monitor the situation in order to address concerns as they arise.  In addition, staff are developing and implementing education and awareness around the issues that have led to some of the concerns.

The staff of Parry Sound High School are committed to student safety and well-being.  All students and parents/guardians are welcome to approach the school to obtain further information or discuss concerns with respect to this matter.”

According to the PSHS Principal, the Parry Sound Public School has been built without washroom doors and her school’s decision to remove washroom doors is in line with new school builds.