BLOGPrivacy Protected: Why South Dakota’s Bathroom Law is Common Sense

By Bob Trent Posted on: | February 29, 2016

Update: Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the bill that would have protected the privacy and safety of all students in South Dakota.

In the absence of values, confusion reigns. That’s why lawmakers in South Dakota found it necessary to pass a law requiring students to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their sex at birth. Why would lawmakers take time to pass a bill that says boys can’t go into the girl’s changing room, or that girls can’t use the boy’s bathroom?


Because on April 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education made a sweeping proclamation: the basic understanding that when a child is born, the baby’s anatomy determines sex was thrown out. “Sex” under the Department’s new “interpretation” of Title IX, the law which requires schools to treat boys and girls equally, would now be determined by how a student “feels.” So if a biological boy “feels” like a girl, the school must treat him as a girl or face the consequences.

In April of 2015, schools were reminded that a boy could use the girl’s changing room if he decided one day he felt like a girl. In fact the federal government threatened to pull $6 million in funding from a high school in Illinois until it complied with the new definition of sex in Title IX. But here’s the problem, no court has ever interpreted Title IX as requiring schools to give students access to opposite-sex restrooms and changing areas. 

And so, with the basic understanding of what determines a person’s sex rejected, schools are struggling to determine how to tell who is a boy and who is a girl. Consequently, the South Dakota Athletic Activities Association found it necessary to develop a nine step process to evaluate gender that required review by a licensed attorney to find out which changing room a boy should use before a football game.

That’s why ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp provided legal analysis and testimony to the South Dakota Senate when it was considering HB 1008 and HB 1112, which protect the privacy and safety of every student, instead of just a few.

Matt joined ADF Freedom Matters this week to talk about the confusion created when the government discarded a basic human value and what schools and parents can do to protect the privacy and safety of their children. You can listen to the episode below, and subscribe on iTunes.

Bob Trent

Media Relations Director

Prior to joining ADF as Media Relations Director, Bob was an anchor and reporter for ABC affiliate radio station KTAR in Phoenix, AZ.

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