City schools build 2 handicapped-accessible, unisex restrooms

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The sign outside the new handicapped-accessible, unisex bathroom at Cullman Middle School (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 8/2/19 at 4:12 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson said Friday morning that the school system built two new restrooms this summer, one at East Elementary School and one at Cullman Middle School. She said the restrooms are ADA-compliant, meaning handicapped-accessible, and open for anyone to use.

“We have added a restroom at CMS near the office,” Patterson said in an email to The Tribune. “The restroom is handicapped-accessible and can be used by anyone. We have also added a handicap restroom at EES to meet the needs of our students.”

Parents took to Facebook Thursday expressing concerns that Cullman Middle School had added a transgender restroom, many saying that the new restroom was built for one student in particular. As of press time, The Tribune has not been able to find any parents with personal knowledge of said student willing to go on the record about their concerns.

When asked directly if the new restrooms were built for transgender students, Patterson said, “I can’t say anything past what I have written without talking to the (Cullman City Schools’) attorney.”

“It’s just a handicapped-accessible restroom,” said Cullman Middle School Principal Jake Johnson.

When asked if the bathroom was built for transgendered students, Johnson said, “I can’t say that. I can say that it’s for anyone; it’s a need that we’ve had here for a long time. It is accessible to anyone that comes on campus. Not only does it allow parents to have a restroom, it’ll also be accessible to any student, any visitor on campus. Anyone that’s handicapped can use that restroom. We previously didn’t have any restrooms on campus for handicapped people because there was no way to access.”

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The inside of the new handicapped-accessible, unisex bathroom at Cullman Middle School (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)