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SD House passes bill banning transgender students from restrooms, locker rooms of choice

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota’s House approved Wednesday a bill 58-10 requiring students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their biological sex.

However, the bill also calls for schools to provide “reasonable accommodations”  for transgender students, including a single-occupancy bathroom or “controlled use” of a staff-designated restroom or locker room.

Republican State Rep. Fred Deutsch, a bill sponsor who represents the Brookings area, said the bill is meant to protect the privacy of students. It now goes to the state Senate.

National groups are keeping tabs on the bill. In a statement Wednesday, Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, said , “This bill creates a hostile and toxic climate in South Dakota’s education system for children who are transgender. It singles out transgender students and attacks them for being who they are by treating them differently every time they engage in an activity as simple as using the restroom or getting ready for gym class. No student’s day at school should ever be interrupted by discrimination. With this and other harmful legislation pending, South Dakota legislators seem determined to make sure the state is an unwelcoming place for LGBT people to live and work.”

Legislators this session are also attempting again to void a high school activities association policy allowing transgender student athletes to request playing on the teams of their choice and a bill that would allow businesses and individuals to use religion as a reason to discriminate against gay and transgender persons.

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