Students, parents, and advocates packed a meeting of the Berkeley County School Board to discuss the rights of transgender students
The South Carolina Senate has once again turned its attention to school restrooms.
Sens. Larry Grooms and Paul Campbell have introduced a local bill
that would restrict students to the bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. If passed into law, the new bill would apply throughout the 2016-2017 school year and allow for students to submit a request for the use of alternate facilities to their principal. These requests would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and permit transgender students to use single-stall restrooms and controlled use of employee restrooms, locker rooms, and showers.
Earlier this year, Berkeley County schools began allowing transgender students to use the restrooms of the gender with which they identify. Following a heated board meeting that drew arguments from both sides of the issue, Berkeley County School Board Chairman Jim Hayes clarified the district’s position regarding the treatment of transgender students, saying that “each situation will be handled individually. Therefore there could be students in a school who use a private restroom and students in a school who use the restroom for the gender with which they identify.” Sen. Grooms argues that the new bill will provide some degree of stability for students and parents on the district’s policies.
Passing second reading Wednesday, the bill known as S.1306 stands in clear opposition of a directive recently handed down by the Department of Education and Department of Justice, which states that school administrators should allow students to participate in “sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.”