Today, the South Dakota Senate passed extreme and dangerous legislation that attacks the rights of transgender children in public schools, and prevents them from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. Gay rights organizations like HRC and the ACLU of South Dakota have called on Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto the offensive and deeply discriminatory legislation. If signed by the Governor, South Dakota would be in direct conflict with the U.S. Department of Education and non-discrimination protections under Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972.
South Dakota schools are incredibly concerned about the expensive legal costs this discriminatory legislation would force them to pay in resulting legal challenges. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has pleaded with the Senate to abandon the discriminatory bill.
H.B. 1008 would put South Dakota school districts at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX, forcing them into an untenable position of choosing between state and federal law. It would also tie the hands of school administrators and teachers who would no longer have the flexibility they need to find workable solutions in coordination with transgender students and their parents. The U.S. Department of Justice has unequivocally stated that, “Discrimination based on a person’s gender identity, a person’s transgender status, or a person’s nonconformity to sex stereotypes constitutes discrimination based on sex. As such, prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his [or her] gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX.”