Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools staff recently held two sessions with student representatives to collect their input and concerns on the annual budget and other topics.

Wireless internet access as well as washroom cleanliness and safety were the top concerns, Scott Saywell, NLPS superintendent, told the business committee on May 11.

While Wi-Fi investment over the last two years has reduced complaints, the district-wide IT infrastructure program is only about 50 per cent complete since it launched in 2020.

Students also said they wanted more sexual health education, drug education and raised concerns about student mental health.

Students spent “a lot of time talking about washrooms, in fact,” during the feedback sessions, Saywell said, with students calling for gender neutral facilities and improved cleanliness and safety such as floor-to-ceiling doors.

“The one that I’ve heard a lot about is the bathrooms,” Trustee Tania Brzovic, commented. “I’m hearing more and more from students that this is becoming a greater and greater concern.”

As preliminary budget discussions for 2022-23 are underway, Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh said addressing washroom facilities would likely be looked at through the Ministry of Education annual facilities grant or school enhancement program, but staff did not offer any immediate actions to tackle the issue.

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