Parent angry after claiming daughter denied access to Gosport school's female toilet and told to use unisex lavatory instead - before getting suspended

An angry parent has claimed his daughter was denied access to a female toilet at school and told to use a unisex lavatory instead despite concerns they made her feel “unsafe and dirty”.
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The teenage girl was suspended by Brune Park Community School in Gosport for one day on October 12 over an incident which happened a day earlier.

The school had declined the opportunity to comment on the event but a letter, seen by The News, from the school to the child’s parents said she was suspended for being “persistently defiant”. A spokesperson for Brune Park Community School has since said: “We don’t comment on individual cases. There are gender specific toilets in the school which children have access to at all times.”

Brune Park Community School in Gosport has an Ofsted rating of inadequate in most recent inspection which was published on July 31, 2023. 
Picture: Paul Jacobs (160015-21)Brune Park Community School in Gosport has an Ofsted rating of inadequate in most recent inspection which was published on July 31, 2023. 
Picture: Paul Jacobs (160015-21)
Brune Park Community School in Gosport has an Ofsted rating of inadequate in most recent inspection which was published on July 31, 2023. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160015-21)
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The parent of the girl said of the incident: “A male teacher at my daughter’s school refused her access to a female toilet, giving her an ultimatum to use a unisex toilet or not to go at all. To add to the problem my daughter was subsequently suspended because she contacted me to tell me what was going on and refused to hand over her phone.

“My daughter now has a suspension on her school record for stating she wanted to use a female toilet because the unisex ones make her feel unsafe and dirty, without so much as a question asked of this teacher.”

The child’s guardian said they had complained to the school about the teacher’s handling of the incident. A meeting has been set-up at the end of the month between the school and parents to discuss what he says is an “unwarranted” suspension. The father said his daughter also missed school on October 13 because he did not receive the school’s suspension letter until the following day.

A letter from the school to the pupil’s parents said: “The decision to suspend (the child) has not been taken lightly. (She) has been suspended for this fixed period because on October 11 (she) was persistently defiant.”

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The father said there had never been any issues before with his daughter using female toilets, adding: “I’ve spoken to a lot of other parents who aren’t even aware of the unisex toilets being introduced, let alone male teachers having control over what toilets their sons and daughters can use.

“They still have toilets for girls and boys but they are not always in use. Only the unisex toilets are open all the time. People do not know this has been brought in very slyly.

“If a girl wants to use a female toilet she should be able to - especially at a sensitive age when they are going through changes. The same applies for boys, some might be too shy to use a unisex toilet.”

The parent added: “I’m quite a disciplinarian with my children but in this case my daughter has been treated unfairly. There is absolutely no excuse in today’s world for a male teacher trained in safeguarding children to refuse a young girl access to a female toilet. There has been no repercussions for the teacher whatsoever, so they can do this again.”

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The school was recently handed an Ofsted rating of “inadequate” with children feeling “unsafe” in its most recent inspection which was published on July 31. The inspection said in its report: “Many pupils feel unsafe because of unkind and hurtful comments made by their peers. Leaders and staff do not challenge racist, sexist and homophobic comments robustly or swiftly enough.”

Headteacher Kerry Payne said in response to the Ofsted report: “We do not hide from this judgement. We accept completely the findings of inspectors and will use this disappointing outcome as a springboard for change at Brune Park.”

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