Loudoun Co. school bathroom project would provide more privacy

Amid recent reports of violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse in  Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. school bathrooms, local school systems are weighing ways to make bathrooms safer.

Loudoun County’s school board will be briefed Tuesday on a plan to provide more privacy in school bathrooms and locker rooms.

Under the plan, schools would reconfigure and add single occupancy, private restrooms for staff and students, according to a presentation posted online. On average, each high school would have six private bathrooms, middle schools would have four, and elementary schools would have two.

In addition, locker rooms in middle and high schools would be altered to provide private shower and changing room compartments.

According to the staff report, the $10.9 million conversion project would be covered by already-approved capital improvement funds.

While typical school bathrooms consist of rows of sinks, stalls, and urinals, recent incidents of misconduct in bathrooms has led to discussions of safety concerns.

Last month, a teen who authorities believed overdosed in Arlington County, Virginia, high school bathroom earlier died. Two high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland were found passed out in a bathroom.

Recent stabbings in Fairfax County, Virginia, and two sexual assaults by the same high school student in two Loudoun County high schools placed school bathroom safety and security under a national spotlight.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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