The average school day for a CHS student is roughly 8 hours. The average amount of water recommended for students this age is 2.5 to 3 liters per day— which translates to 11-13 cups. While not all of us are avid consumers of H2O, anyone who gets even close to that number is going to have to use the restroom sooner or later. Now imagine those 8 hours with a full bladder, and no comfortable place to relieve yourself.
In past years, this has been the terrible reality for many students in the Clayton School District and across the country. This was an alarming realization for CHS alumni and former student representative Adam Jaffe. After reading a Globe story released in 2019 addressing the need for gender-neutral bathrooms, Jaffe attempted to make a change. Unfortunately, his early ambition was not initially met with concrete change. “The story got so much attention, but the conversations didn’t really create any action”. Upon being selected as the student representative, he immediately brought the concerns of his fellow classmates to the administration. “It was something that I pushed for because I thought it was the right thing to do, and I didn’t think it was okay for students to not feel comfortable going to the bathroom. So when I found out students could add items to the agenda, it was the first thing on my list,” explains Jaffe.
It is because of the passionate voices around him and the initiative that Jaffe took, that there are now gender-neutral bathrooms located in every school building in the district. The three elementary schools are beginning to introduce the idea of “Everybody Bathrooms”, in order for kids to understand their importance at a young age. This friendly terminology encourages the normalization of these bathrooms for children and stands as a symbol of inclusivity our district has long preached. These bathrooms are one step closer to truly including the LGBTQ+ community within Clayton.
Clayton High School’s GSA co-presidents, Anna Streeto and Annette Martinson, spoke in regards to the addition. Martinson pointed out how “It is important for trans students who are just beginning their transition to have something that affirms them, without forcing them to choose.” These bathrooms will help to teach kids that “this is not weird, this is what normal should be” , says Streeto. Sean Doherty’s motto, “we don’t just want to be great, we want to be transformational” is emulated through these bathrooms. We hope our previous superintendent is proud of the change created by passionate students with a vision for a more inclusive future.
If you have a concern related to any student issues please reach out to your student representative, Aitana Rosas Linhard. As Jaffe reminded us, “The greatest power that we as students have is to use our voices and bring concerns to the district advisory council”. The next time that you feel unheard, remember that your student representative is always ready to listen, waiting to turn your ideas into actionable change.