Controversial ‘Bathroom Bill’ Affecting Transgender Students Passes South Dakota Senate, Awaits Governor Daugaard's approval
Feb 17, 2016 06:21 AM EST
A new regulation regarding the requisition of students at state public schools to use restrooms and other facilities based on their physical anatomy at birth was passed by the Senate in South Dakota. The bill which could be the very first law of its kind is now waiting for the governor's approval.
According to Sun Times Network, the bill has gained different reactions from the public. Supporters of the proposed law said the bill is necessary to protect their children's privacy. Critics, on the other hand, see it as a clear discrimination against transgender students.
According to State Senator Brock Greenfield, who proposed the regulation, he only did what he felt was necessary. He said that it is not appropriate for girls to share restrooms and bathrooms with boys regardless of their sexual preference. But senators who are against the bill like Senator Bernie Hunhoff argued that this only creates fear and unfairness to the transgender youth. This will further create scenarios like bullying and will put children in danger at their own school, as reported by TIME.
Opposing senators also claimed there have been no recorded accidents or problems of having comingling sexes using the same bathroom. They added that the simple laws of the school can actually handle these type of cases in case it happens. Another valid question that they asked is how they are going to enforce the law and if it entails a monetary consideration, who is going to cover it.
Upon hearing these bill, the LGBT community, together with the Transgender Law Center, immediately reacted and showed their dismay on how the senators voted. They said that every child including transgenders should have equal rights. The Guardian reported they dubbed the bill as "disturbing" and "distressing".
Another issue at hand is that several rulings have already been passed by the Department of Justice concerning these types of cases. They firmly believed that gender identity should be respected.
If South Dakota will pass this law, the state's school districts might lose more than $200 million in federal funding's for not following the department's order. The Republican governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard's decision of signing the bill is yet to be established.