Bill Description: Senate Bill 1100 would require public schools to separate bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, dressing areas, and overnight accommodations based on students’ biological sex. It would also require public schools to provide reasonable accommodations for students who submit a request in writing and can’t or won’t use facilities designated for members of their biological sex. The bill would create exemptions for some circumstances, such as the need to enter opposite-sex restrooms to provide medical care.
NOTE: The amendment to Senate Bill 1100 does not change our rating or analysis of the bill.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? (+) Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions? (-)
Under this bill, any student who encounters someone of the opposite sex while using public school restrooms, changing areas, or sleeping quarters has a private cause of action against the school if “[t]he school gave that person permission to use facilities of the opposite sex; or [t]he school failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit that person from using facilities of the opposite sex.” By enabling students to enforce their privacy rights, Senate Bill 1100 makes schools more accountable for protecting student privacy.
Does the bill reinforce the idea of equal treatment under the law, merit, individual responsibility, personal agency, and expectations of academic excellence? (+) Conversely, does the bill allow for any type of discrimination against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group for any purpose on the basis of race, sex, color, economic class, ethnicity, national origin, geographic area, legacy status, or other identity group? (-)
Senate Bill 1100 reinforces the idea of equal treatment under the law. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a school district’s policy separating bathrooms based on biological sex didn’t violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause or Title IX.
The court found that a district’s policy of separating bathrooms based on sex didn’t violate the equal protection clause because it “advance[d] the important governmental objective of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms and d[id] so in a manner substantially related to that objective.”
The court also held that the policy didn’t discriminate against transgender students. The court found that there was no violation of the equal protection clause because a “policy can lawfully classify on the basis of biological sex without unlawfully discriminating on the basis of transgender status.” The policy at issue did not on its face discriminate against students who identify as transgender. Instead, the policy classified restrooms based on boys and girls, and both groups included transgender-identifying students. In addition, there was no evidence of discriminatory intent or purpose on the part of the school board in adopting the policy.
By upholding these principles, Senate Bill 1100 is consistent with the principle of equal treatment under the law.