Sexual assault at Montclair HS reignites debate over all-gender bathrooms

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MONTCLAIR -

Reports of a sexual assault inside an all-gender bathroom at Montclair High School has reignited the national debate about the practice of having such facilities inside schools.

School officials have not released many details about the alleged assault, including the genders of those involved. Parents were informed last Wednesday of the incident via an email from the school's principal.

The email said in part, "the safety of our students is of primary concern. While the matter is being fully investigated, we have increased security in the building."

RELATED: Montclair High School steps up security after alleged sexual assault

Montclair police were called to the school two days earlier on May 14 after someone reported the incident.

Critics of all-gender restrooms say that they feel assault and harassment will be a more common occurrence and an issue of public safety.

But proponents of the bathrooms say that they do not agree with these claims.

“It’s not about the sex it's about having power over somebody so I think that could happen anywhere. It’s not only in an all-gender bathroom,” says student Lille Hoffman. “If you don't want to use an all-gender bathroom there's a girls bathroom and a boys bathroom. Everybody’s happy in my opinion.”

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating. No arrests have been made.

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