Is an elementary school that does not have a dedicated restroom for (adult) staff putting itself at an elevated legal risk? In the current situation, with no dedicated restroom for adults, adults have no choice but to share the restrooms with students. The restrooms in the building are intended for several people at once, with 2-3 stalls and urinals where appropriate. They are labelled variously Men, Women, Boys, Girls ... But all are shared. Jurisdiction is state of Vermont, US. Further, am I risking liability by using a restroom shared with children? Does my employer (the school district) have a responsibility to provide a restroom that is not accessible to children?

NB: I am aware that there are many new laws concerning gender in public restrooms but this question is specifically about the mixing of adults and children in one restroom.

  • Please specify your jurisdiction (country, state, etc). Aug 30 at 17:10
  • 2
    Of course, in nearly every other type of public building, there's just a single restroom per gender (and/or gender-neutral options), which adults and children alike are expected to use. So if there's any considerations here, it must be something specific to schools. Aug 30 at 17:12
  • I added jurisdiction.
    – nuggethead
    Aug 30 at 17:13
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    What are you doing in the restroom that you think might expose you to liability?
    – bdb484
    Aug 30 at 17:21
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    Me, nothing. But I've never worked in a school that didn't have dedicated restrooms for adults, and it seems odd to me.
    – nuggethead
    Aug 30 at 17:24

Why would this be a concern?

The adults have some duty in an elementary school setting to monitor the children in the restroom in any case. Separate restrooms are an employee perk, not a liability driven decision.

  • I'd say it would/might be a concern because we live in a litigious society and it's a space where an adult could be alone with a child. Other organizations (BSA for one, some time ago) have recommended a "2-deep leadership" policy where there are always 2 adults whenever children are involved, either to protect the kids or to make sure that unwarranted accusations would have a witness.
    – nuggethead
    Aug 31 at 15:30
  • @nuggethead You are more likely to have two deep leadership if you have shared bathrooms than separate bathrooms with a monitor, and you are less likely to have gaps in bathroom monitoring which is basically required and necessary to supervise kids.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 31 at 18:10

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