A legal group is warning against California's new transgender bathroom law set to go into effect at the start of the year and is hopeful the law may be repealed.
School officials in California are preparing for AB 1266, the state's new transgender bathroom law, to go into effect January 1. The controversial statute will allow students to participate in sex-segregated facilities and activities of their choice.
School districts are looking at the layout of locker rooms, scheduling sensitivity training for coaches, and reviewing the dress code for school portraits and the sleeping arrangements for overnight field trips. Brad Dacus, president of Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, spoke with OneNewsNow about the implications.
"It's really just whatever the child says that they want at whatever age," he explains. "A kindergartner, for example, could simply start using the opposite sex's bathrooms and there's nothing any adult can do about it according to this new law. It's very insensitive."
Earlier this year, a Colorado civil rights board ruled in favor of a transgender student who was told she couldn't use the girls' bathroom at school. The Arcadia Unified School District in California also announced this year it will provide transgender sensitivity training after a student wasn't allowed to stay with other boys during an overnight field trip.
"Specifically, [AB 1266] will allow any boy who comes to school and says that they feel like they're a girl, to immediately have access to the girls' bathrooms, the girls' locker rooms, the girls' showers," Dacus laments. "They will have the right to change and shower at the same time and in front of girls who are changing and showering."
AB 1266 may be repealed within days of going into effect if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the statewide ballot. Counties have until January 8 to verify the hundreds of thousands of signatures collected by the group behind the referendum. Dacus says it's imperative that voters get to decide on this controversial law.
"It's going to be very costly and there's going to be serious legal quandaries that school districts are going to find themselves trying to implement a law that on its face is a privacy violation of the rights of students pursuant to the Constitution," says the attorney.
The California School Boards Association is urging school officials to look at requests on a case-by-case basis on the assumption that AB 1266 will stand.
"This is going to create tremendous apprehension and anxiety, we're sure, for many young students, particularly young girls – and parents also need to recognize that we do have something that they need to download and file with their school district," he adds, referencing The Notice of Reasonable Expectation of Privacy. "This forces a school to address these issues immediately by removing some of their qualified immunity."
The California School Boards Association is also encouraging parental input and, if possible, to provide separate changing arrangements for transgender students and classmates who don't want to share bathrooms or locker rooms.