Boyertown looks to enhance privacy in restrooms, locker rooms

BOYERTOWN, Pa. - The Boyertown Area School District has hired an architectural firm to look at ways student privacy can be enhanced in the high school's locker rooms and restrooms.

The contract, approved by a unanimous vote of the school board, comes two months after a lawsuit was filed by a student over the district's transgender policy, claiming the policy constitutes sexual harassment and a violation of personal privacy.

The study will initially focus on the high school by evaluating the feasibility of modifying existing, multi-user facilities to enhance the level of privacy of all students, but it could result in the establishment of a district-wide prototype for existing and future buildings, officials said.

"This is one case where not being first is a benefit, so the firm will be able to benefit from best practices, and also work affordably, in its planning and design," said Richard Faidley, the district's superintendent.

The board's contract calls for spending less than $9,000 on what officials said they expect will be a "comprehensive conceptual study that could create long-term economies of scale."

Faidley said the district continues to maintain that its present policies and practices regarding bath and locker rooms accommodate all students and comply with relevant court rulings.

The student who filed the lawsuit against the district in March said he was changing for gym class in a school locker room on October 31 when he realized there was also a female student present, wearing only shorts and a bra. Three more students have since signed on as plaintiffs.

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