Parents keep children at home in protest after school removes wall from front of girls' toilets

'I want this resolving – my daughter sits her GCSEs this year so keeping her off school is an extreme measure on my part'

Ryan Butcher
Sunday 21 January 2018 16:27 GMT
Students kept at home in protest after wall removed from girls' toilets at Liverpool school

Parents are keeping their children at home in protest against a Merseyside school’s decision to remove the front wall of a girls’ toilet block, which they say is making pupils feel “scared and unsafe”.

A privacy row has erupted between St Mary’s College in Wallasey and parents after the exterior wall was removed to make the toilets open plan.

Pictures sent to The Independent show that the toilet cubicle doors are now exposed to an open corridor, and are in clear sight of at least one classroom and a CCTV camera.

It is believed that the decision has been made by the school in a bid to stop smoking, bullying and truancy, with the new layout meaning pupils can no longer hide in between lessons.

Tara Hodgson Jones, who has a daughter in year 11 and a son in year 9 at the school, saw the toilets for herself when she attended a parent’s evening at the school on Friday.

She told The Independent that she is keeping her daughter at home as she does not feel safe with the new toilet layout.

“My sister and neighbours are doing the same with their daughters,” Ms Hodgson Jones added.

“Apparently they are starting on the boys’ toilets next week, so I’ll be keeping my son off too if they do the same.

“My daughter told me about it on Thursday but I thought she was making a big deal over nothing until I saw it for myself.

“We tried to talk to my son’s head of year about it but he said he couldn’t comment and that we would have to make an appointment with the head teacher on Monday, which we will be doing.

“I want this resolving – my daughter sits her GCSEs this year so this is an extreme measure on my part.

“If the problem is bullying, smoking and skipping class they could have approached it in so many other ways.

“My daughter was bullied in year 10 and that was in the classroom, the yard and the lunch hall, so thinking that taking a toilet wall down will stop it is stupid.

“As for smoking, put alarms in. As for skipping class, use frosted glass so teachers can see shapes when they walk past.

“My daughter feels scared and unsafe – it’s shocking.”

St Mary’s College is a voluntary aided academy for 11- to 19-year-olds, meaning it is not governed by a local authority.

Online, the Catholic school describes its mission as being “inspired by the spirit of Jesus Christ” and that the school is “for the personal development of every member through service to each other”.

On Twitter, one parent wrote: My daughter has come home [the] last two days from this school and feels appalled by this, and says she has no privacy.”

Whereas another took a different viewpoint and said: “My daughter attends this school and I don’t see it as a bad thing – I do believe it’s for the protection of the students and school safety.

“Really don’t know what the fuss is about?”

Another parent reportedly told the Liverpool Echo that the removal of the toilet wall was “absolutely disgusting”.

“They clearly haven’t considered what girls past puberty have to deal with, so to have only one door for privacy without the added security of a room is terrible.

“There are classrooms opposite the toilets, there is even a camera facing them – for girls between the ages of 11 and 16, it’s unacceptable.”

The Independent has contacted St Mary’s College for comment.

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