Parents’ fury over unisex toilets plan for primary school

PARENTS of children at Farr Primary School in Sutherland are furious about plans to install “intersex toilets” in the local primary school – and no damn wonder.

One mum said they had not been informed or consulted about such a hugely controversial move and believes it will be “uncomfortable and embarrassing for children of both sexes”.

Who could reasonably fail to share her misgivings?

What is it with Highland Council and toilets? They close down virtually every public convenience in the region in the middle of an unprecedented tourism boom because of “the cuts”, but when it comes to doing the business in the latest and most dubious outbreak of PC madness all boxes must be ticked and it seems it’s no expense spared.

The council recently was hailed by the gay rights organisation Stonewall as the most LGBT friendly local authority in the country with regard to schools provision. At the time, writing elsewhere, I said this was positive and welcome.

Cited as action to reduce the risk of bullying, it seemed obvious that anything that could play a role in removing that scourge from schools was worthy of support.

But where do “unisex toilets” in primary schools fit into this?

Farr mother Donna Mackay said: “A five-year-old girl in primary one is expected to go the toilet on her own and could walk into the toilet where there are a group of older boys. In my opinion this is unacceptable and could lead to bullying or worse.”

I come from a primary school era where the thought of boys and girls sharing the same facilities would have been utterly unthinkable, and perverse.

Have things really changed so much? And who has decided that small children should now be exposed to a situation many parents will find abhorrent and utterly unacceptable?

The lack of explanation or consultation makes this even worse.

It’s not clear where this will lead. But officials pandering to the latest PC fashion – even if it drags primary school kids into the sordid equation – aren’t in charge, councillors are.

In the past our elected representatives have been assailed – and their will has been broken – by the backlash over school closures in rural areas.

Let’s hope parents in Sutherland set the standard when it comes to opposing gross and wholly unnecessary and unacceptable plans which many elsewhere will be also vehemently opposed to.

And deliver a warning that if this is pushed through, and a single child is adversely affected as a result, there is a real risk that the “unisex toilets for kids” diktat will lead to irresistible demands that they be dismantled one way or another, with some parents threatening to do it brick by brick.

Why is our splendid castle left shrouded in gloom?

INVERNESS put on a superb light show over the festive season, with a splendid display of sparkling colour dispelling the winter glaur over the city centre.

The illumination of the recently revamped Town House was, in particular, spectacularly impressive.

But why was the most prominent and the finest landmark in the Highland capital left almost wholly mired in darkness.

If Inverness Castle isn’t worth a showpiece lighting display visible from miles around, then what is?

Instead only the turret was visible from the riverside as it poked up from the surrounding darkness. What happened? Did they run out of lightbulbs.

In fact on the riverside the structure which was lit-up most prominently were the cluster of Lower Bridge Street flats. Not exactly a knockout spectacle either for local people or visitors who arrived here to share in our Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Millions of pounds are earmarked to develop the castle when the courts finally moved to another location.

It’s baffling and bizarre that throughout the winter darkness, it’s left shrouded in darkness as a landmark which might not even exist.

May’s resilience under pressure has to be admired

OPINIONS differ on the personal qualities of Theresa May. But can anyone reasonably deny that she has shown the most extraordinary resilience and composure as she has been abused and assailed from all sides, more so than any Prime Minister in living memory?

How would one of her most strident critics, our own First Minister, have fared under such extraordinary pressure?

The era when Queen Nicola was admired by everyone for her charisma, wit, poise and humour have long, long gone. The days when she was besieged by adoring supporters and curious members of the public eager to get a glimpse of a woman with such star quality – as happened more than once on Inverness High Street – are unlikely to ever return.

The humour and easy-going manner have been replaced, seemingly on a permanent basis, by that habitual, grievance ridden scowl.

So, I wonder again, how would she cope with the kind of treatment she has helped dish out with relish to the unfortunate Theresa May.

I suspect she’d have turned into a ball of hissing fury. And if she tried to pose for one of her famous “selfies” in the most trying and troubled times, her expression would have bounced back and cracked the camera.

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