Local Legislator To Introduce Transgender Student Privacy Act In 2016 SD Legislative Session
A state lawmaker from Florence says he will introduce a bill in the next legislative session that will address the privacy issues in dealing with transgender issues in South Dakota. District 4 State Representative Fred Deutsch tells KXLG news that his “Student Privacy Act” would require schools to keep biologic boys and girls separate in private areas, including; bath rooms, shower rooms, and locker rooms. The legislation would also require schools to make reasonable accommodations to Transgender students when requests are made. Deutsch says his legislation has nothing to do with the ongoing controversy going on within the South Dakota High School Athletic Association dealing with what sports a transgender athlete can participate in.
He explained how a potential situation might be handled dealing with a Transgender student under his Student Privacy Act.
The U-S Departments of Education and Justice have both sided with transgender students in saying that school districts that require them to use separate changing areas are violating the nation’s anti-discrimination laws under the Title 9 rules. That law, which was passed in the 1970’s, says it’s illegal to discriminate between sexes. Deutsch says in April of 2014 the Obama Administration began to interpret the law differently.
Deutsch acknowledges its a sensitive and challenging area and that the issue is very real for transgender students whose needs have to be respected. But, he adds, the needs of everyone else also has to be respected. He estimates that about three-tenths of one percent of the nation’s population is transgender. He says his bill would respect all students’ privacy rights. He says feedback he’s receiving so far is about 90 percent positive.