House Committee Hears Testimony On Bill Protecting Public School Student Privacy in Locker Rooms, Restrooms

On Thursday the House Education Committee heard testimony for and against a bill protecting students’ privacy in public school locker rooms, showers, restrooms, changing areas and similar facilities.

H.B. 1156 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) requires public schools to designate these facilities exclusively for “male” or “female” use.

The bill contains exceptions allowing public schools to make reasonable accommodations for transgender students — such as letting them use a a single-occupancy restroom or changing area.

In the past federal officials and others have tried to force public schools to let students use whatever locker room or restroom they want regardless of their biological sex. In some cases, this has threatened students’ privacy and physical safety.

However, federal courts have made it clear that schools can designate restrooms and locker rooms as “male” and “female.”

Earlier this month the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “separating school bathrooms based on biological sex passes constitutional muster and comports with Title IX.”

Family Council has said for years that Arkansas needs to pass legislation that will protect the privacy and safety of children in public school showers, locker rooms, and restrooms.

H.B. 1156 is good, commonsense legislation that will do precisely that.

The House Education Committee heard testimony on the bill Thursday, and Family Council expects the committee to vote on the measure at a later date.

Updated: Arkansas Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Bill to Protect Children from Drag Performances

Above: Sen. Gary Stubblefield presents S.B. 43 in the Arkansas Senate.

On Tuesday the Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly passed a measure protecting children from drag shows.

S.B. 43 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) clarifies that drag shows are a type of adult performance under Arkansas law, and it prohibits adult performances on public property or in view of children.

We have written repeatedly over the past few years about how public schoolscolleges, and libraries in Arkansas have scheduled drag performances — including performances intended for children.

Some of these events have been canceled following public backlash.

At public libraries in particular there has been a push to let men dressed in hyper-sexualized, female costumes read books to children. In some parts of the country events like these have exposed children and families to sexual predators.

On Tuesday the Arkansas Senate passed S.B. 43 by a vote of 29 to six.

Drag shows should not take place on public property or anywhere near children. S.B. 43 will protect children from these performances.

The bill now goes to the Arkansas House of Representatives for consideration.

The Following Senators Voted FOR S.B. 43

  • J. Boyd
  • J. Bryant
  • Caldwell
  • A. Clark
  • Crowell
  • B. Davis
  • Dees
  • J. Dismang
  • J. Dotson
  • J. English
  • Flippo
  • Gilmore
  • K. Hammer
  • Hester
  • Hickey
  • Hill
  • Irvin
  • B. Johnson
  • M. Johnson
  • B. King
  • M. McKee
  • J. Payton
  • C. Penzo
  • J. Petty
  • Rice
  • M. Stone
  • G. Stubblefield
  • D. Sullivan
  • D. Wallace

The Following Senators Voted AGAINST S.B. 43

  • L. Chesterfield
  • S. Flowers
  • G. Leding
  • F. Love
  • R. Murdock
  • C. Tucker