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New High School Will Have Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

LEWISBURG — School districts in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are reacting to the new gender-neutral bathroom guidelines. The United States Depart...
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LEWISBURG -- School districts in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are reacting to the new gender-neutral bathroom guidelines.

The United States Department of Education released guidelines Friday that all school districts must have gender-neutral bathrooms. While this is not a law, if schools do not comply, they will not get federal money.

The Lewisburg Area School District is in the process of building a new high school.

The new guidelines actually won't affect construction school because gender-neutral bathrooms were already in the plans. The new Lewisburg Area High School will have three gender-neutral bathrooms.

Dr. Mark Dirocco is the superintendent at the Lewisburg Area School District.  He explains that federal money is distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

"It's information that we're just taking a look at now.  We will be waiting for some kind of information, guidelines, suggestions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education," said Dirocco.

The guidelines came out as construction on Lewisburg Area High School's new building is finishing up. Dirocco says the district was being proactive when the architects designed the new building with three gender-neutral bathrooms.

Newswatch 16 spoke with parents and grandparents in the district. Some did not want to be on camera but most agree with the district's decision.

"If they're single-stall bathrooms and if it's an individual bathroom for that special person, then that's OK.  But I don't want a guy in the bathroom with my grandchildren," said Pamela Wetzel of Lewisburg.

"I feel everyone should have their fair share.  Whatever their gender is, they should have their fair share," said Carol Levan of Lewisburg.

Dirocco is not sure what will happen with the new guidelines but he believes his schools are ready.

"We think we're in good shape for whatever might come along down the road from this new set of guidelines.  We will deal with it as it comes."

The Lewisburg Area superintendent says the other schools in the district all have single-stall restrooms for teachers.  If those bathrooms need to be turned into gender-neutral bathrooms for students in the future, that is possible.

The new high school is scheduled to open in November.