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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Gender-neutral bathrooms mandated in public schools

Chanel Capa
A STEP TOWARDS EQUALITY: California public schools have begun implementing gender-neutral bathrooms with the introduction of Bill 760.

A new state law requires every K-12 school district to provide at least one gender-neutral bathroom on campus by July 2026.

This law, signed last month by governor Gavin Newsom, is one of many laws passed to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. It was prompted by California Attorney General Rob Bunta’s decision to sue the Chino Valley Unified School District for instituting a policy requiring schools to tell parents when their children change their pronouns or use a bathroom of a gender other than the one listed on their official paperwork.

“In this country that is rapidly becoming increasingly conservative and exclusionary towards LGBTQ people, governor Newsom needed to put an emphasis on protecting human rights,” Gender & Sexuality Alliance club vice president junior Julie Heninger said. “Signing the law was a step towards making California safer and far more respectful to all people.”

Northwood already has four gender-neutral bathrooms installed on campus, including one in The Well, one in the nurse’s office, one in the College and Career Center and one directly below The Well in the 900s building between Jamie Carey and London Carter’s offices. Various school districts across California such as the Oakland Unified School District and the San Francisco Unified School District have also worked to open at least one gender-neutral bathroom by repurposing existing bathrooms. 

“Having a facility that’s a necessity during the school day that acknowledges every student is very important,” assistant principal Christina Banagas-Engelerdt said. “We would like to have more gender-neutral bathrooms, but it’s not just Northwood’s decision since our facilities are also dictated by the district.”

Student responses to the law have generally been supportive. Some believe its implementation will help boost campus inclusivity and safety.

“I am so relieved that this new law is now in place,” Gender & Sexuality Alliance club secretary junior Levi Lane said. “It promotes gender equality and allows transgender and nonbinary people a space where they are able to do something as simple as using the bathroom without feeling threatened or uncomfortable.”

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About the Contributors
Lauryn Chew, Staff Writer
Lauryn Chew is a sophomore staff writer for The Howler who rarely writes for the Viewpoint page. She's pretty easy to spot because at 6-foot-2, she towers over both her teachers and peers. One of her dreams is to meet My Melody.
Chanel Capa, Graphic Artist
Chanel Capa is one of the many talented graphic artists for Howler and has a surprising affinity for comedy. He likes to listen to many different types of music and you will most certainly find him running around school with a pair of headphones sitting around his neck. He also can't ever indulge in a single media normally (He HAS to be crazy about it for about 3 months minimum).

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