Milford High School Students Hold Walkout After School Board Proposes Restrictive Bathroom Policy

Students gather outside of Milford High School to protest the school board’s new bathroom policy. “It was nice seeing the school come together in such a respectful manner,” said MHS senior Jay Rowell.

Celia Wallis, News Editor

Milford High School (MHS) students held a walkout on Friday, February 10 after their school board proposed a new, heavily restrictive bathroom policy in response to a few parent complaints.

This policy requires that students use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex, impacting a handful of transgender students. It also prevents students from changing in locker rooms, forcing them to use bathroom stalls.

A strict cap limited the number of students in the bathroom at the number of stalls available, leaving students waiting several minutes to get into the bathroom and causing them to miss out on valuable class time.

Although it is unclear why, the school also blocked off urinals in the men’s bathrooms. Not only did this make it take much longer for male students to use the bathroom, but it also brought up legal questions.

New Hampshire law requires that schools provide one toilet per 30 students. Since urinals were included in this number, there was some concern that the school may not be in compliance with this law given these changes.

Additionally, parents felt that this policy was not something that would be sustainable long-term as there is no reasonable way to enforce it.

“We can not possibly regulate that a bathroom is used by biological sex,” said Milford resident Ryan Delano at a public hearing. “However, we can regulate that the behavior in the bathroom is… [appropriate] for what the bathroom is being used for.”

Before the school board enacted the new policy, students were permitted to use the bathroom of their choice. The school also provided options for students who didn’t feel comfortable in either bathroom.

“We have one single-stall bathroom that’s for anyone to use and there’s also the nurse’s office,” said MHS Student Jay Rowell ‘23. “But one gender-neutral bathroom at a school of 700 students isn’t adequate.”

The school board’s new bathroom policy seemed rushed, leaving students feeling that they were not being heard. Many students took to social media to complain about the policy, but three took it one step further, planning a walkout to force the school board to listen.

“It [the walkout] was planned that day… They got the message around just through word of mouth and Snapchat stories and I think they emailed a lot of people too,” Rowell said.

Despite the short notice, an estimated 400-500 students across all grades gathered outside the school on Friday afternoon. Students then made speeches and talked to various news anchors hoping to appeal to the school board.

 “It was nice seeing the school come together in such a respectful manner,” Rowell said.

At the school board’s next public hearing on February 15, parents and students showed up to present additional information in hopes to overturn the decision. MHS students warned that if the policy remained in place, they would keep staging walkouts until the policy was revoked.

Ultimately, the school board heard the complaints of students and parents and decided to revoke the decision. While students are happy for now, there may still be further changes to bathroom policies to appease the parents who originally brought their concerns to the board.