S. Dakota Gov. Vetoes Transgender Student Bathroom Bill

The bill seemed to conflict with federal interpretations of Title IX and had been opposed by the LGBTQ community.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have dictated which bathroom transgender students could use in the state on March 1.

The bill, which would have required students in public schools to use the bathroom facilities that correspond with their biological sex, would have made South Dakota the first state in the country to direct students toward a specific bathroom.

The bill now returns to the legislature, where it must be supported by two-thirds of lawmakers to override the Governor’s decision. There are doubts the bill’s support will reach that threshold in the state Senate, according to whbl.com.

Campus Safety reported on the bill when it passed both chambers of the state legislature on Feb. 16.

The bill’s passage sparked outrage in the LGBTQ community, and some argued it could open the state’s schools up to legal troubles at the federal level. In 2014, the Department of Education ruled that students can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity under Title IX.

Governor Daugaard cited the potential conflicts with federal regulations as a reason for vetoing the bill. “This bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state,” Daugaard said.

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

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. The bill doesn’t specify punishments for students who don’t follow the bathroom rule, leaving that up to school districts.

Schools could also allow certain students in teacher bathrooms under the bill, which requires schools to make “reasonable accommodations” for transgender students.

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

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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