Denver school board mandates all-gender restrooms in schools and district facilities

Each school in Denver must now have at least one all-gender restroom, after the school board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday mandating the practice.

“It is time for us to lead with bold actions,” said Tay Anderson, the school board member who pushed for the resolution. He added that Colorado’s other school districts “are now going to have to follow what we are doing today in Denver.”

All Denver Public Schools buildings already have restrooms labeled “family restroom” or “unisex,” according to Jennifer Song Koeppe, the district’s director of planning, design, and construction. Per the resolution, the district would designate one of those restrooms as all-gender and put up new signage, she said.

All-gender restrooms was a promise Anderson made while campaigning for the board. He was elected in November to an at-large seat, with backing from the Denver teachers union. Anderson is a Denver Public Schools graduate who until recently worked as a restorative practices coordinator at Denver’s North High School. He left that job to serve on the board.

The other school board members resoundingly supported the resolution.

“Our purpose as schools is not only to help students master reading and writing and science and art, but that students know who they are as leaders and their place in the world,” said school board Vice President Jennifer Bacon.

This is not the first time the board has stood in support of the LGBTQ community. In 2018, the board unanimously adopted a resolution in support of transgender students and teachers, in particular, in response to actions by the Trump administration.

The resolution passed Thursday also says the district affirms students’ and teachers’ right to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity and speak about their family lives. It also says the district will continue to honor students’ gender identity at school.

“The district will work to support adults important to the child on greater acceptance,” it says, “however, the district will not wait for such adult acceptance or require parents’ or guardians’ consent before honoring the student’s self-reported gender identity and gender expression.”

Read the full resolution here.