Jakarta – Reports that SMP 44 state junior high school in East Jakarta is separating its stairways based on gender have gone viral on social media.
Signs placed on the gates in front of the stairways read "girls' stairs" and "boys' stairs." A picture of the stairs was uploaded by Twitter user @bukandigembok.
"This is the latest phenomenon in Jakarta: SMP 44 is SMP sharia. They separate staircases for boys and girls. Long live Indonistan!" said the account on Wednesday.
SMP 44 deputy head of facilities and infrastructure Simanjuntak clarified that the gender-divided stairways were a disciplinary measure and not discriminatory.
"It doesn't mean that we are giving preferential treatment to one gender and such," said Simanjuntak at the school on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.
He showed that the school had four levels and that there were stairways on each side, the left side for girls and the right side for boys.
The rule has been implemented at the school's new building, which it has occupied for around a year.
Simanjuntak said the stairway rule only applied during afternoon prayers and assured that there was no other gender classification in the school's rules.
He also said students and parents had not protested the rule. "We haven't received any complaints." (bry)