Cleveland District State High School students oppose toilet refit

TOILET TROUBLE: Cleveland District State High School students have expressed concerns that newly refitted toilet blocks are an invasion of privacy. Picture: supplied.

TOILET TROUBLE: Cleveland District State High School students have expressed concerns that newly refitted toilet blocks are an invasion of privacy. Picture: supplied.

The Queensland Department of Education says a $500,000 upgrade of Cleveland District State High School toilet facilities was approved by the P&C and student body, despite complaints from students the design was an invasion of privacy with the intent to prevent vaping.

Vaping is the inhaling of a vapour created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or another vaping device.

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is banned at all Queensland state and non-state schools and for five metres beyond their boundaries.

A spokesperson for the education department said the half-a-million-dollar refit of the toilet blocks was not related to vaping and would bring the toilet facilities up to the standard of those at new schools.

"New facilities have private cubicles with washbasins in an open area," the spokesperson said.

"This ensures better ventilation and improves the health and safety of students, which is a priority at Cleveland District State High School.

"All cubicles are private and no doors have been removed."

FENCES: Construction begins on the junior toilet block at Cleveland State High School. Picture: supplied.

FENCES: Construction begins on the junior toilet block at Cleveland State High School. Picture: supplied.

A student told the Redland City Bulletin many students felt "uncomfortable" with the upgrades and said they were an "invasion of privacy."

The student said bars installed for security outside of school hours were "jail-like."

"This is a violation of boy's privacy, from seniors to the extremely young year sevens," the student said.

"The current females' toilets have had bar doors installed instead of normal doors plus windows in some, which lets people see into the toilets also violating female students' privacy."

The education department spokesperson said the fencing around the toilets was similar to existing fencing in other areas of the school.

"The school has not received any complaints from the school community regarding the female toilet block, which was refitted approximately three years ago," they said.

The student said the refits were a "waste of school funds" and that their peers said issues like broken air conditioning, a lack of bike racks and broken elevators were some of many problems they believed were more pressing.