NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The issue of which restrooms transgender students should use is picking up steam in the state legislature.
A bill that passed a House subcommittee on Tuesday would require transgender students to use the restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. It would apply to students in public schools and universities.
Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, sent the following statement:
Federal courts have held that even prisoners have a right to privacy that includes not being regularly viewed in the bathroom or shower by guards of the opposite sex. School children deserve, at a minimum, the same protection as federal prisoners.
The ACLU said the bill is discriminatory and violates federal law.
“The Federal Department of Education has made it very clear that for a school to prohibit transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, then the school system would be violating Title IV,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU. “When you violate Title IV, the federal government has the ability to pull federal funds from the state. And looking at a line by line item that has been shared with us, over $6 billion would be in jeopardy.”
Lawmakers did not hear the bill in the Senate education committee on Wednesday because they ran out of time. It is expected to come up again Tuesday, where more transgender students are scheduled to testify.