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Can This Really Curb Bullying in Schools?

An Ottawa school district is taking steps to make their schools more transgender-friendly. The district already had universal, single-stall bathrooms in 20 percent of its schools, and it will be changing another five or six schools in September.

The change in bathrooms is happening after the Ottawa-Carleton district received requests from both parents and students. The eventual goal is for all schools in the district to have universal bathrooms and then move on to adding gender-neutral changing rooms.

"Students that feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment are going to learn better," said Jennifer Adams, the board's director of education.

Some of the requests for universal bathrooms came from parents of children with disabilities in the community. They wanted more accessible bathrooms for their kids. The concern is also for transgender students.

"For me, that would have helped a lot while I was in the beginning of my transition. I wasn't quite ready to use the girls' washroom, but I wasn't comfortable using the boys'," said Alexis Knox, a 12-year-old transgender girl. Knox is going back to public school after a year of homeschooling.

"What the board is doing is likely going to save lives," Alexis' mother, Amanda Knox, said. "A lot of bullying can take place inside bathrooms, and a lot of kids will hold in their business until they get home."

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