Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Republican, signed a bill Tuesday that bans biological males in public schools from using girls’ bathrooms.
House Bill 1156 requires that public school districts or open-enrollment public charter schools rely on the students’ sex as listed on his or her original birth certificate “issued at or near the time of his or her birth.”
Schools will be required to designate multiple occupancy restrooms and changing areas to be exclusively used by boys or exclusively used by girls and to provide a reasonable accommodation for those who are unwilling or unable to use these two types of restrooms.
The move makes Arkansas the fourth state to ban biological males from girls’ bathrooms, according to The Associated Press. Iowa and Idaho also have similar bills waiting to be signed by their respective governors, and Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have enacted similar laws.
“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,” Sanders’ spokeswoman Alexa Henning said in a statement to The Daily Signal. “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”
Arkansas’ bill could soon be followed by an even more aggressive piece of legislation: Senate Bill 270, which would make it a criminal offense for a person 18 years old or older to knowingly enter and remain in a public changing facility that is assigned to members of the opposite sex “while knowing a minor of the opposite sex is present in the public changing facility.”
Critics of this type of legislation claim, without current evidence, that it harms young people that identify as another gender.
“By requiring schools to police student’s restroom usage and forcing trans youth to use restrooms that do not align with their gender identity, this bill creates a hostile and discriminatory environment that could lead to exclusion, harassment, and bullying,” Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, said in a statement to The Associated Press.
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