S. Dakota Bill Dictates Bathroom Use for Transgender Students

Published: February 17, 2016

3/2 Update: South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed the bill, citing potential conflicts with federal regulations. Read Camus Safety’s coverage of the veto here.

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Students would be required to use bathroom facilities based on their biological sex under a South Dakota bill that passed the legislature Feb. 16.

State Governor Dennis Daugaard is expected to sign the bill, which has sparked outrage from the LGBTQ community, according to the Washington Post.

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Although the bill offers no punishment for schools or students who don’t follow it, some say schools could get stuck in legal conflicts in an area where state and federal law seems to clash.

In 2014, the Education Department ruled that under Title IX students are permitted to use bathroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity, meaning that schools in the state could potentially open themselves up to lawsuits regardless of which law they follow.

People supporting South Dakota’s bill say it aligns with the original language of Title IX, which stipulates that schools must have separate bathrooms for each sex. Schools could also allow transgender students in teacher bathrooms.

RELATED: Tenn. School Criticized for Allowing Gay-Straight Alliance Club

Opponents of the bill say those solutions are inconvenient for students, particularly if the nearest faculty bathroom is far away from classes.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling for same sex marriage there have been several showdowns between state and federal governments. In Indiana, the government had to rescind a law passed that was determined to be discriminatory toward the LGBTQ community last year.

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