Our View: South Dakota ‘bathroom bill’ discriminates against transgender students

Kent Stater Editors

The South Dakota state senate passed a bill Tuesday that would ban transgender students from using the school bathrooms and locker rooms of the genders they identify with.

The bill passed the state senate earlier this month and heads to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk in the next few days.

If Daugaard signs the bill into law, it will be the first such bill in the nation.

This kind of a bill, known as the “bathroom bill,” is detrimental to children who are coming to terms with who they are. A state government telling them they can’t use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with will cause embarrassment and confusion.

Sen. Brock Greenfield, one of the senators who introduced the bill, said the “co-mingling” of students with different biological sexes is “inappropriate.”

Children are together for at least seven hours a day, “co-mingling” in the classroom, in the cafeteria, on the playground and on the school bus. The restroom is just another area of interaction, although it is much more private than any other area.

Just because students with different biological sexes are using the same restrooms does not mean anything negative or dangerous will happen. Students go to the bathroom for a biological function, that’s all.

The bill is tantamount to discrimination, as Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 bans discrimination based on sex in public schools.

A story made the rounds on social media about a message in a Kent State bathroom, “A trans man used this bathroom and the world did not end.”

The message raises a good point: Bathrooms are private spaces and people, especially impressionable children, should be able to use the school bathrooms they feel most comfortable in. Politicians should not be able to make these kinds of personal decisions for children.