Safety & Privacy in School Restrooms


  • (Used With Permission from Saint Paul Public Schools )  

Restroom Privacy and Safety Pilot Program Information and Frequently Asked Questions

  • LCPS is developing a school Restroom Privacy and Safety Pilot Program that supports the needs of all students and staff. This pilot program was announced in March 2023. Renovation work started earlier this year in nine schools, with all renovation work, technology installation, and testing to be completed in March 2024.

    The improvement work is not eliminating traditional restrooms that are standard configurations of multi-fixture restrooms assigned specifically to boys or girls in any of our schools. The construction increases accessibility to allow students, now and in the future, a choice to utilize the multi-fixture, gender-specific restrooms or single-occupancy restrooms in all LCPS facilities. The Pilot Program improvements address the identified needs of principals, staff, students and parents, focus on student and staff safety, and address safety-related activities.

    Throughout spring 2024 Pilot Program, LCPS will actively gather student feedback from the schools participating in the Pilot Program, as well as invite parent, student, staff and community feedback from all schools.

    What schools are participating in the Restroom Privacy and Safety Pilot Program?
    Nine schools are participating in the project, receiving privacy renovations and/or new sensor technology.

    Five schools received renovated privacy restrooms:

    • Broad Run High School
    • Dominion High School
    • Heritage High School
    • Loudoun Valley High School
    • Woodgrove High School

    Three of these schools received restroom sensor technology deployed in all student-accessible restrooms in addition to the renovation:

    • Dominion High School
    • Heritage High School
    • Loudoun Valley High School

    Four schools received restroom sensor technology deployed in all student-accessible restrooms:

    • Farmwell Station Middle School
    • Sterling Middle School
    • Park View High School
    • Stone Bridge High School

    The restroom sensor technology installed in seven schools uses multi-functional health, safety, and vape detection sensors; however, no personally identifiable information will be recorded. Signs will indicate the use of this sensor technology.

  • Restroom Pilot Project Feedback Form
  • Sensor Technology Information
    Sensor technology was installed in all student restrooms in pilot program schools. Sensor technology was tested after installation to ensure they function properly. No data was collected during the testing phase other than relevant to the actual functioning of the sensors. The technology itself will be monitored and designated school personnel will be notified of any disruptions the sensors detect. Schools will continue to assess responses and recommend improvements throughout the duration of the pilot program.

    Sensor Technology in Multiple Fixture Restrooms
    Sensors in these restrooms will alert for the following disruptions:  (Policy 8210). 

    • Vaping:  The system detects all types of vape, including non-nicotine, nicotine, and marijuana (THC) based vape, and simultaneously detects smoke. (Policy 8240)
    • Aggression: Sensors can detect abnormal noise levels like fights, screams, slamming doors, and other suspicious activity (Policy 8210).
    • Gunshot:  Like aggression, sensors can detect abnormal noise levels like gunshots (Policy 8235)
    • Health Emergencies:  If an occupant experiences health or other distress, that person must say, “Help! Emergency!” The phrase will initiate an alert. The sensor will only recognize English.
    • Tampering: The integrated digital tamper sensor will alert staff if anyone/anything touches the system. Tampering includes vandalism and disabling of the sensor by identifying vibrations and strikes to the sensor, like squirting water or items thrown at the sensor, as well as movement of the ceiling tile. (Policy 8210)

    When a disruption is detected, alerts are immediate. The sensors in multi-fixture restrooms will reset after two minutes. Multi-fixture restrooms have two sensors located on either side of the room. Due to the configuration of multi-fixture restrooms and the student traffic, the sensors will not count the number of occupants. The sensors will not emit alarms or audible alerts at this time.

    Sensor Technology in Single-Occupancy Restrooms
    Single Occupancy Restroom sensors have thermal heat detection capability to differentiate the number of people in a restroom. In addition to the alerts noted for the multi-fixture restrooms, sensors will emit notifications when:  

    • More than one person occupies the room: It is important to note single occupancy restrooms do not track movement or lack of movement. It is a heat signature sensor only.  

    • Duration exceeded: When occupancy is detected, a timer begins. Should occupancy exceed five minutes, an alert will be sent accordingly. This time may be adjusted during the pilot program. 

    How will we know if an LCPS restroom has sensor technology?
    Signs will be posted at the entrances of all student restrooms. Should you identify a student restroom that should have a sign but does not, please let the school administrator know about the oversight.  

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    Sensor Technology Questions
    How will the school respond when a sensor is triggered?  
    When a sensor initiates, the following happens:

    • The sensor outside the restroom will light up.
    • An email and/or text notification is sent to designated school personnel.
    • The notification identifies the type of alert situation.
    • Designated school personnel, trained on response plans, roles and responsibilities, respond to the alert.
    • Responses will be similar to other school responses to suspected discipline infractions or health emergencies.

    Is it the same for my middle schooler as my high schooler?
    Yes, the indicators and sensors are set to the same settings at both middle and high schools. Staff responses will be consistent across middle and high schools. 

    Who will receive the notifications?
    Designated school personnel, typically including principals, safety and security teams, administrative teams and other designated school staff. 

    How was staff trained in the pilot schools?
    Staff designated to respond to technology notifications in each pilot school has been trained on appropriate and consistent responses to each type of notification. Additional training will be offered to those who do not receive alerts so they will understand the sensor technology indicators.

    Will only those who receive a notification respond or will all teachers/staff who pass by? 
    Trained personnel who receive the alert notifications will respond. Additional school staff is trained to call on safety teams and administrative teams.

    Will teachers and others who work in the school receive training and examples of what the lights look like and mean?
    Yes. Additional training will be offered to those who do not receive alerts so they will understand the sensor technology indicators.

    Will teachers/safety responders enter a single occupancy, privacy restroom if a sensor is triggered? 
    When the sensor alerts for a health emergency, two or more people in the restroom, or vaping, school personnel would prioritize student safety and respond just as they would anywhere else in the building.

    When is a notification/sensor indicator considered an emergency?
    In a multi-use restroom, aggression, weapon noise, and health emergencies would indicate an urgent response. In privacy, single-occupant restrooms, more than one person or a prolonged stay in the restroom could indicate the need for an emergency response. 

    What about after-school hours and weekends?
    Notifications will be active between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday. Notifications will be sent on school days.

    What is e-hall pass and how are students tracked now? If a student has checked out in this system to go to the restroom, how long until someone looks for them?
    Various schools use e-hall pass as a way to issue a hall pass for travel between classrooms or to visit a restroom when classes are in session. The e-hall pass is not linked to the restroom sensor notification system. The restroom sensor technology is an independent system that notifies designated school personnel in real time when sensors detect certain conditions.

    Are images recorded? Any voices? Any identifying information?
    No personally identifiable information is collected.  

    Are students photographed by this technology?
    No. The sensors do not record any personally identifiable information. 

    What about use in locker rooms?
    Sensors are not present in general locker room areas or staff restrooms. Technology sensors have been installed in all student restrooms at pilot program schools.  

    Timers in privacy restrooms are set for five minutes. Is this the right timing?
    There are concerns that this may be too short a time for some necessary restroom visits or too long a time should there be a health emergency or disruption in a restroom. Staff will be monitoring the pilot program to help determine whether notifications are working as designed and will recommend modifications as warranted.

    What if the school loses power or internet service?
    Sensor technology includes a battery backup and will continue to operate on the emergency generator. A disruption in internet connectivity will disrupt sensor functions. A notification of the disruption is sent to the school. 

    What if vaping is detected when my child is in a restroom where someone else is vaping? Will the school’s response to vaping differ based on this sensor notification? Will anything be different now that there are sensors?
    Unfortunately, at times students may vape, and demonstrate other undesirable behaviors, in restrooms. LCPS continues to balance the need for privacy and safety for all students, as governed by School Board policies. Any student who is determined to have vaped in a school restroom should receive interventions and any disciplinary consequences in accordance with Policy 8240.

    Any search deemed necessary as the result of a sensor activating for a vape must be conducted in accordance with Policy and Regulation 8265. In particular, a search is permissible where a school official has reasonable grounds, based on the totality of the circumstances, for suspecting that the search will reveal evidence that a student has violated either the law or rules of the school. Further, reasonable suspicion must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

    What other policies govern the responses to student behavior these sensors might detect?
    Any student who is determined to have violated school rules should receive interventions and disciplinary consequences in accordance with the applicable student disciplinary policy/regulation and the Student Behavior and Administrative Response (SBAR). 

    Any search deemed necessary as the result of a sensor activating must be conducted in accordance with Policy and Regulation 8265. In particular, a search is permissible where a school official has reasonable grounds, based on the totality of the circumstances, for suspecting that the search will reveal evidence that a student has violated either the law or rules of the school. Further, reasonable suspicion must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

    How will we know if the sensors are helping keep students safe?
    The pilot program will run throughout the rest of this school year, with planned feedback sessions with students, and additional feedback gathered from staff, parents and the community. Once the pilot program has had time to gather feedback, a report to the school board will be made.  


    Privacy Restrooms
    Privacy restrooms or additional privacy stalls are being provided in five schools as part of the program to enhance restroom options for students who may need a privacy option for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to medical needs or religious needs, personal choice or convenience. 

    Will the construction done for the pilot program take away any restrooms?
    The number of restrooms is not decreasing through the pilot program. The number of student restrooms is being increased, and some staff restrooms that had been adapted previously to provide privacy restrooms for students, are being returned to their original use as staff restrooms. Overall, more restrooms will be available for students and staff. 

    What if a door is locked on a privacy restroom and a sensor is triggered?
    Security teams, administrative teams and other designated staff members in each building have access to unlock doors when needed. 

    How will you know what sex person is in the restroom?
    Staff would be unable to tell, but in an emergency, a safety and security response by appropriate personnel would follow common practices in place for all emergencies. The priority will be to avoid delays that could compromise health or safety. 

    How will you know if more than one person is in the restroom?
    In a privacy or single restroom, a heat sensor will detect the presence of more than one person and send a notification. The heat signature does not personally identify the individuals.

    How long do students have to change classes? Does this affect when and where they can access these restrooms? 
    The new restrooms provide greater access to restrooms and can be used like all other restrooms in the building. Class change time accommodates time to use the restroom as needed.


    Pilot Program Results

    Where does the pilot program go from here?
    Data and feedback gathered in the pilot phase will be analyzed and presented to the School Board in June. If modifications or expansion for the program are needed, some of those recommendations may be implemented as soon as the summer of 2024 in preparation for the 2024-2025 school year.  

    Any major changes, modifications or construction recommendations would be reviewed and could be included in the 2025-2026 superintendent's estimate of needs for that school year. 

    How is data collected and reported?
    A combination of techniques will allow for information that will be helpful to assess the efficacy of the program. Instances and types of notifications from the technology can be compiled. Separately, staff will track and report any behavior or discipline issues identified by these notifications, just as they would any other interventions or discipline arising from any other situation.

    Student feedback, in addition to parent and community feedback, on the new restroom configurations and technology, will be gathered throughout the pilot program. The data will be used to inform a report to the School Board in June. That report will include recommendations for any further revisions or modifications, continuation or expansion of the safety and privacy pilot program.


    General Information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Last Modified on March 22, 2024