Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation on Tuesday that will prohibit transgenders in public schools from using the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
“The bill signed by the Republican governor makes Arkansas the fourth state to place such restrictions at public schools, and it comes as bills in Idaho and Iowa also await their governor’s signature,” according to the Associted Press. “And it might be followed by an even stricter Arkansas bill criminalizing transgender adults using public restrooms that match their gender identity.”
“The new Arkansas law requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations, including single-person restrooms. Superintendents, principals and teachers who violate the prohibition could face fines of at least $1,000 from a state panel, and parents could also file private lawsuits to enforce the measure,” the AP added.
The law will not take effect until this summer and targets only multi-person restrooms and locker rooms at public schools as well charter schools. Students from preschool to grade 12 will be affected. Alexa Henning, the spokesperson for Sanders, said in a statement that the law will protect children.
“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,” said Henning. “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”
Paul Castillo, senior counsel and students’ rights strategist for Lambda Legal, denounced the bill for “singling out transgender people.”
“They’re singling out transgender people for no other reason than dislike, disapproval and misunderstanding of who transgender youth are,” said Castillo. “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.”
Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, said the bill represents a “flagrant message” that Republicans “refuse to respect (transgender people’s) rights and humanity, to respect Arkansans’ rights and humanity.”
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