STUDENTS at New Norfolk High School have been promised they will have increased access to toilets when school resumes after the Royal Hobart Regatta long weekend. Following complaints that the majority of student toilets had been removed during the summer holidays, the Department for Education, Children and Young People has responded swiftly.
About 400 people have signed an online petition protesting the removal of student toilet facilities, which was discovered on the first day of term yesterday. The Mercury reported the news this morning and it was quickly picked-up on by other media. Hundreds of comments were made on social media.
Late this afternoon, a spokesperson told New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News that the Department for Education, Children and Young People was working with New Norfolk High School to increase access to student toilets by Tuesday next week.
“The department has closely monitored operations at the school today and will continue to do so until the situation is rectified. The department apologises to the students and families of New Norfolk High School,” the spokesperson said.
It was speculated that the removal of toilets – and the absence of doors on the remaining cubicles – was an attempt to prevent smoking and “vaping” in the toilets. Parents commenting on Facebook said there was now only one toilet available per student in each grade. It was also said soap and sanitiser were no longer available.
It was not stated whether the toilet reduction applied to the whole Year 7-12 cohort, or only in the high school section.