SRVUSD debating permanent all-gender bathroom at each high school

Plus: Transition to district elections to be discussed at board meeting

The San Ramon Valley school board is set to talk about whether to offer one permanent all-gender bathroom at each comprehensive high school campus Tuesday night.

Citing its continued efforts to create a safe and inclusive school environment for all students, the board last spring approved a one-semester pilot program to create an all-gender bathroom at all four San Ramon Valley Unified School District high schools.

District staff now recommends that the board keep the bathrooms permanently.

During the board's May 22 meeting, student leadership representatives from all four high schools -- Dougherty Valley and California in San Ramon, and Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley in Danville -- recommended that the board adopt the pilot program, explaining that the issue has been a hot topic among students for several years.

"These kids are not asking for the moon. They are asking for a place to pee," board member Rachel Hurd said at the May meeting, adding that the all-gender restroom is simply giving students more choices; if a student does not feel comfortable using it then they can move down the hall to the next restroom.

The school board is set to discuss the all-gender bathroom and other issues at its regularly scheduled meeting, Tuesday 7 p.m., 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.

In other business

* The long held practice of electing San Ramon Valley government officials through at-large voting may be coming to an end, as a voting rights group has sent a petition to the SRVUSD -- along with four other local government agencies -- calling for its transition to district based elections.

The petition, submitted by Scott Rafferty, Esq. on behalf of the Bay Area Voting Rights Initiative, is the first formal step under the California Voting Rights Act in moving the SRVUSD to district elections, essentially meaning residents would only vote for board member candidates in their designated geographic district -- as opposed to the current practice of all residents choosing to vote from all council candidates at-large.

The purpose for this, the petition states, is to prevent racially polarized voting and give better representation to demographics identified as a protected class.

“At -large voting dilutes minority electoral influence in the election of each of the legislative bodies in San Ramon Valley,” Rafferty wrote in the petition. “Your councils and boards should consider this advice as an opportunity to engage the community in a collaborative process that avoids adversary litigation.”

Enacted in 2002, the California Voting Rights Act provides support for residents who are in a “protected class,” stating that at-large elections impair the abilities of protected classes to influence the outcome of an election -- a protected class is defined as voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group.

Rafferty did acknowledge the appointment of Susanna Ordway to the board -- the SRVUSD’s first ever person of color to serve, according to Rafferty -- but pointed out that she was selected by the board, and a person of color has never been appointed by an open election.

“By appointing Trustee Ordway, the board may have intended to recognize the value of having a representative of the Asian community. This sets the stage for an elected representative, who can serve as authentic choice of the Asian community,” Rafferty wrote.

The petition was also addressed to the town of Danville, city of San Ramon, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and the Dublin San Ramon Services District, all of whom participate in at-large voting.

“(SRVUSD) looks forward to engaging with our partner agencies, as well as with our community, as part of our commitment to continually examine our practices the district is interested in a collaborative process that examines various options. As this conversation evolves, the District will provide updates to our SRVUSD community,” SRVUSD spokesperson Elizabeth Graswich said.

If approved, the school board would begin the process of hiring legal aid and a demographer to create voting districts.

* The school board will also discuss the district’s financial situation and review its biannual interim report.

According to district staff, the report has found that the district has maintained positive cash balance through the end of the 2018-19 year.

* Board members are expected to approve two new members to its Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, to serve for two-year terms ending in 2020.

Scott Roberts and Bridget Pelley are expected to be sworn in, according to a district staff report. They will be tasked with providing oversight for the board to ensure that funds from the parcel tax are being spent as intended by district voters.

Established in 2004, the parcel tax gives the school district a steady flow of income from local taxpayers, enabling the school board to fund both core academic programs and advanced placement courses for students. In 2015, the parcel tax was renewed by voter for an additional nine years, extending the funding until 2024.

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21 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 6:28 am

I still think it’s absolutely disgusting to allow the two genders in the same bathroom with only a small half wall. There is enough girl on girl and boy on boy problems in their separate bathrooms. Why asked for more trouble? I am a grown woman and still would not want to be in a stall knowing that there may be a man right next to me being able to look over or under. This is a palling!

28 people like this
Posted by What!
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 6:51 am

Marie, I couldn't agree with you more. To bend 99% of the population to appease the 1% is ridiculous!

...they can use the single use bathrooms.

There are TWO genders: Male (those born with male parts) and Female(those born with female parts!)

It's only a matter of time before something REALLY bad happens and it will be another issue that the SRVUSD has to hide!

So California stupid!

13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Dec 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

I am happy the world is finally stepping up and allowing an all gender restroom. In todays world with so many typed of gender identification boys and girls bathrooms make no sense. I for one am not comfortable around some guy checking me out when i am peeing and i am a guy myself. Furthermore we have become a society that has been to catered too and allowed to live in so much fear and character defects. This all gender restrooms will help us all learn to be more comfortable around each other and develope more respect and stronger relationships with each other. It has so many mental health benefits! We are all just people at the end of the day and just because we have different parts does not make us that different. We can now focus on our similarties which i believe will strength our communities. Way to set the example!!!

16 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2018 at 7:44 am

We all know SRVUSD record on student safety. With two drownings in one school year. SRVUSD will create a dangerous situation as you did with 57 kids and a teacher on a cell phone supervising a swim class.

SRVUSD get the hint how do you insure the safety of a girl who enters the bathroom followed by a boy. It is impossible to insure that girl is not going to be assaulted in the privacy of that bathroom. Yet you can not stop the boy from entering the bathroom because it is a mixed gender bathroom. Increase the number of single person bathrooms. You also can not keep a boy from lurking in the bathroom. A single user bathroom is much safer. Girl opens unlocked door sees boy lurking and turns around. It is a safety issue which leads to a liability issue. SRVUSD we are learning is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

18 people like this
Posted by ddmom
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

I agree with Marie, What and Tim. Also, hopefully they are maintaining it on an hourly basis! I've used a transgender bathroom and it was disgusting! Some men just aren't as clean as some women. Now I refuse to use one.

13 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 8:55 am


What do you mean by “so many types of genders”? There are two genders, but the liberal, left, PC want to confuse people and say there are more, there are not! Some children may be born with a deformity, but a doctor will be able to determine the gender. I understand some people may not think they are not the gender that matches their body, but that’s a whole different story.

I somewhat agree that we “have become very catered” and “live in... fear”, but that is only because we have given up on “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Now it’s OK for people’s feelings to get hurt over things we used to brush off. Ironically, the liberal left, who are supposed to be so peace loving, can be the biggest bullies.

Your thoughts that “this restroom will help us all learn to be more comfortable… and respect… relationships“ is ridiculous. What mental health benefits are you talking about? I couldn’t disagree more by your comment “just because we have different parts does not make us that different”. God made our bodies completely different so that we can have babies. We think differently, talk differently, and do many things completely differently!

22 people like this
Posted by IMCurious
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 11, 2018 at 9:07 am

Frankly, I'm amazed that the parents of these high school children aren't up in arms about this issue! My family is grown so it doesn't affect me, but if I had a child in the school system, I would be OUTRAGED! I would be pulling my kid out of SRVUSD faster than you can say transgender!

STOP THE MADNESS NOW!.....before someone gets hurt!

26 people like this
Posted by Virginia
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

Virginia is a registered user.

How many parents allow teenage boys and girls do an unsupervised sleepover? Yet, now, its ok to put them in a bathroom with partial stalls between them? Put the gender polical commentary aside and just look at it using common sense. There is no reason whatsoever to allow boy and girl teenagers to use the same bathroom together. Its not bias, its called supervison. If you don’t think that sooner or later cell phone videos and pictures won’t surface from someone holding it over some unsuspecting teenagers stall, even as a joke, you are fooling yourselves. Common sense (again putting the gender political arguement aside) says this is a bad idea, its a dangerous idea and has the potential to cause harm to students who are potentially subjected to this. There are many more concerns than this that I have not listed, but fundamentally this is the clearest and least controversial....or at least should be. I agree this is a big liability to the school district. More importantly, why would you even risk such a thing? If you are really concerned about “all gender” restrooms, spend the money to make them single rooms.

12 people like this
Posted by Lupe
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 9:28 am

DDMom, you are so right about men leaving the toilet in a disgusting manner. I thought I'd have no problem with sharing as long as it was private. Experience has taught me otherwise. Men don't flush. It's gross.

Single occupancy restrooms should suffice for those who identify with another sex. Mixing sexes in a high school bathroom? How long will it be before there will be an attack or at the least an easy spot for consensual sex on campus. SRUSD has lost it's mind.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Dec 11, 2018 at 11:19 am

Web Link

Here is an article (one of many) that explains how gender inclusive bathrooms help us mentally and emotionally and how over all it helps us as a community and as a society.

12 people like this
Posted by Disappointed/disgusted taxpayer
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm

The Board/District apparently feel that a non-gendered bathroom is a more serious issue than a teacher neglecting the basic duty of keeping his students safe in a potentially dangerous environment. I am utterly disgusted by the lack of responsibility and consequences for such a irresponsible, negligent teacher. What does it take for a teacher to be disciplined in the pro-union school district environment? They (Board and Superintendent) should be ashamed of themselves.

16 people like this
Posted by Sound mind
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 11, 2018 at 3:56 pm

I have no horse in this race but I can tell you on personal observation this idea is wrong. Young kids are very mischievous and you can be sure there will be unintended consequences it this program is made permanent. I hope responsible parents speak out very loudly against this crazy plan.

4 people like this
Posted by Drop the Mic
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Disappointed/disgusted taxpayer:

6 people like this
Posted by Drop the Mic
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Disappointed/disgusted taxpayer:

Sorry, I guess this website does not take emojis. Just wanted to say powerful comment!

10 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2018 at 6:49 pm

SRVUSD already had one case of a student videotaping another in a private stall. If you wanna make students safe, have all individualized bathrooms! This is just another disaster waiting to happen!

10 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2018 at 8:44 pm

there are three types of humans in our society.

There is the female gender.
There is the male gender.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful language]

4 people like this
Posted by Long Term Resident
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

I have a very simple solution which none of you may have thought of. Since the gender neutral/identification issue represents a small minority of students, and there are various issues with gender neutral bathrooms as pointed out by others, why not have gender neutral porta-potties installed at the schools? They even have handicap accessible porta-potties. They could be cleaned or switched out frequently so sanitation wouldn't be an issue. This would be a more cost effective way to deal with the situation and those who don't want to use the porta-potties always can elect to use the permanent restrooms. Some will think this is a joke, but I am serious.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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