On Wednesday Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a new law that will help protect physical privacy at public schools.

H.B. 1156 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) addresses privacy in public school locker rooms, showers, restrooms, changing areas, and similar facilities by requiring public schools to designate these facilities for “male” or “female” use.

The bill also addresses sleeping accommodations for students on overnight school trips.

H.B. 1156 passed in the Arkansas House of Representatives last month, where it received very strong support from lawmakers. Last week the measure passed overwhelmingly in the Arkansas Senate.

Legislation like this is necessary, because in 2016 the Obama Administration issued federal guidelines directing every public school in America — including schools in Arkansas — to let biological males use girls’ locker rooms, showers, bathrooms, and similar facilities at school, and vice versa.

At the time, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge were quick to denounce the federal guidelines and direct public schools in Arkansas to disregard them.

In 2018 the Trump Administration rescinded President Obama’s extreme policies. The Biden Administration has since moved to put those types of guidelines back into place.

Arkansas’ laws need to be clear when it comes to student privacy, and H.B. 1156 helps provide that clarity.

Every student in Arkansas has a right to privacy and safety.

Public school students’ school records are protected by law, because we value student privacy.

A student’s physical privacy should be just as important. H.B. 1156 will help protect the privacy of public school students in school showers, locker rooms, restrooms, and similar facilities on campus.

Family Council was pleased to support passage of H.B. 1156. We are grateful to the General Assembly for passing this measure, and we are grateful to Gov. Sanders for signing it into law.

H.B. 1156 is a good law that will help protect Arkansas’ students. That’s something to celebrate.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.