Connect with us

Local News

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs school bathroom bill into law



Little Rock, Arkansas – The first of many states anticipated to enact such prohibitions this year amid a flood of bills nationwide targeting the trans community was Arkansas, where Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law on Tuesday forbidding transgender people attending public schools from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

As measures in Idaho and Iowa await the governor’s signature, Arkansas will now be the fourth state to impose such limits at public schools thanks to the Republican governor’s signing. And it might be followed by a more stringent Arkansas law that makes it illegal for trans adults to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The rule in Arkansas, which won’t go into effect until later this summer, covers locker rooms and multi-person facilities at public and charter schools that serve students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. This Monday, the law received final approval from the majority-Republican Legislature.

“The Governor has said she will sign laws that focus on protecting and educating our kids, not indoctrinating them and believes our schools are no place for the radical left’s woke agenda,” Alexa Henning, Sanders’ spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”

Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have passed laws of a similar nature, while lawsuits have been brought against the restrictions in Oklahoma and Tennessee.

This year, six years after North Carolina’s bathroom law was repealed in the aftermath of sizable protests and boycotts, proposals to limit transgender people from using the restroom of their choosing have seen a revival. According to the Human Rights Campaign, over a dozen restroom legislation have been filed in 17 states.

“They’re singling out transgender people for no other reason than dislike, disapproval and misunderstanding of who transgender youth are,” said Paul Castillo, senior counsel and students’ rights strategist for Lambda Legal. “And the entire school population suffers as a result of these types of bills, particularly schools and teachers and administrators who are dealing with real problems and need to focus on creating a welcome environment for every student.”

The proposals are among a record number of measures that have been submitted to limit the rights of transgender individuals by prohibiting drag shows, barring transgender girls from participating in school sports, and limiting or outlawing gender-affirming care for minors. Also, state legislatures have used increasingly disparaging language toward transgender people.

Arkansas is considering a bill that goes further than the statute in North Carolina by adding criminal penalties. If someone uses a public restroom or changing area of the opposite sex when a youngster is present, they could be prosecuted with misdemeanor sexual indecency with a child.

The latest Arkansas law mandates that colleges and universities offer appropriate accommodations, such as single-person restrooms. A state panel may impose fines of at least $1,000 on principals, superintendents, and teachers who break the rule. Parents may also bring private lawsuits to enforce the rule.

“Each child in our schools has a right to privacy and to feel safe and to feel comfortable in the bathroom they need to go to,” Republican Rep. Mary Bentley, the bill’s sponsor, told lawmakers earlier this year.

Nevertheless, Clayton Crockett, the parent of a transgender child, explained to lawmakers earlier this year how his daughter felt even more alienated as a result of a similar policy implemented at her school.

“She feels targeted, she feels discriminated against, she feels bullied, she feels singled out,” Crockett said at a House panel hearing on the bill in January.

The legislation’s detractors have also argued that it doesn’t subsidize schools that might need to construct single-person restrooms in order to make appropriate accommodations.

Students who identify as transgender are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to that gender, according to at least two federal appeals courts. But, proponents of the plan have cited a federal appeals court decision from last year that upheld a similar policy in a Florida school district.

The Arkansas law won’t go into effect until 90 days after the Legislature’s current session ends, which isn’t likely to happen until at least next month.

A week after endorsing legislation that made it simpler to sue organizations that offer gender-affirming care to adolescents, Sanders signed the law. The goal of the measure, which won’t go into effect until this summer, is to essentially reinstall the federal judge-blocked ban on providing such care for minors.

A comprehensive education law that forbids classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation until the fifth grade was also signed by Sanders earlier this month. The prohibition is comparable to a Florida statute that has drawn criticism as the “Don’t Speak Gay” rule.

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *