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Parents furious at school’s gender neutral toilets – ‘anything could happen’

Furious parents have launched a petition to get rid of a school's gender neutral toilets

They alleged they weren’t told about the new bathrooms at New College in Leicester.

The secondary school introduced them at the start of the new term to meet “the needs of all students”.

Claire Harmer's daughter Ellie-May is a Year 11 pupil at New College.

The 35-year-old, who set up the petition, said that "anything could happen" in the toilets.

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She said: "It's how the school has gone about it which has really frustrated me.

"They had not informed anyone of these changes, and it wasn't until the kids went back that they discovered them.

"I feel as though they are being pushed together in these toilets and anything could happen to the girls and boys."

Mum Claire argued that puberty is already a tough time for teen girls, without having to share toilets.

"Girls' bodies are changing all the time and they need privacy," she said.

"It's bad enough as it is with girls having body confidence issues.

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"What about when they are on their periods, they shouldn't be worrying if there is a lad in the toilet next to them."

Mandy Smith has two teenagers studying at New College, and two other tots who will attend when they are older.

The 36-year-old claimed: "I'm well aware that most pupils at the school are unhappy about this.

"I don't think this should be forced on our young people, and believe it's a dangerous situation.

"We bring up our young females up to be cautious and not to put themselves in dangerous situations, and now they are being told it's OK to share with males."

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Mandy asked: "Does this mean that the changing rooms will also become gender neutral?

"I think kids that age are already confused about life and sexuality, and this is just adding to their worries."

The online petition has more than 625 signatures.

A Year 11 girl commented: "This is ridiculous.

"As a student at New College, I understand the changes a female body goes through while at school.

"And to not have privacy when changing a tampon or pad, for one week every month, is disgusting."

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New College explained that not all toilets have become unisex.

A school spokesman said: "After an amazing couple of years, New College Leicester has become really popular.

"We have an increased number of students on roll and we are well over-subscribed for first-choice places in September this year, as well as having a waiting list for all current year groups.

"Because of this and to ensure that we meet the needs of all students, we have re-designated a few of our toilets to be unisex or gender neutral in order to cope with the large number of extra students.

"However, there are still gender-specific toilets available for all students."

Daily Star Online has approached the school for further comment.

Guidance from the LGBT charity Stonewall says having unisex toilets helps be inclusive to transgender pupils.

A spokesman commented: "Having facilities that everyone can use is sensible, so all staff and students are able to go about their daily lives, whoever they are."

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