South Dakota set to restrict bathroom use for trans students


South Dakota could in the next week become the first state to ban transgender students from using their bathroom of choice.

The South Dakota Senate on Tuesday approved H.B. 1008, a bill barring transgender students from using bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities of the gender with which they identify.

The Argus Leader reports the bill is now in the hands of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who on Wednesday said he would meet with transgender students before deciding whether or not to sign the bill into law.

It would be the country's first restricted bathroom bill to pass into law, the New York Daily News reports, and it comes after state senators backed it by a vote of 20-15, having passed the state's House of Representatives 58-10 last month.

Under the plan, schools would be required to provide a "reasonable accommodation" for transgender students, which could be a single-occupancy bathroom, unisex bathrooms, or the "controlled use" of staff restrooms, locker rooms or shower rooms, The Associated Press reports.

The bill's advocates say it is designed to protect student privacy, but opponents including the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign say it discriminates against vulnerable children.

Similar attempt in Minnesota failed

Transgender school policies have been a hot-button issue in Minnesota in recent years.

Transgender students in Minnesota are allowed to use the locker rooms/bathrooms and play for the sports teams of the gender with which they identify, after the Minnesota State High School League approved a policy in 2014.

An attempt was made by Republican lawmakers last March to roll back the policy with a similar bill to the one approved in South Dakota, separating Minnesota high school locker rooms and bathrooms along birth gender lines.

But the proposed bill was defeated in the Senate in April, the Star Tribune reports.

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