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Arkansas bans transgender students from using restrooms that don't align with biological sex: 'Our schools are no place for the radical left's woke agenda'

Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a bill on Tuesday that requires transgender people to use public school restrooms that align with their biological sex and not their preferred gender identity.

The legislation applies to multi-person restrooms and locker rooms at pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public and charter schools. While the law is not slated to go into effect until later in the summer, it will be in place before the 2023-2024 school year starts.

In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokesperson for Sanders explained that the bill was enacted to protect children from the "woke agenda."

Alexa Henning, a spokesperson for Sanders, stated, "The governor has said she will sign laws that focus on protecting and educating our kids, not indoctrinating them, and believes our schools are no place for the radical left's woke agenda."

"Arkansas isn't going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates," she added.

School officials, including superintendents, administrators, and teachers, found to be in violation of the bill could be fined at least $1,000. The legislation would also allow parents to file private lawsuits against public and charter schools that break the law.

The legislation also requires public and charter schools to provide reasonable accommodations for transgender students, such as single-person restrooms. However, opponents have criticized the bill for failing to provide funding to build the accommodations.

Paul Castillo, senior counsel and students' rights strategist for Lambda Legal, slammed the legislation for "singling out" transgender students.

"They're singling out transgender people for no other reason than dislike, disapproval and misunderstanding of who transgender youth are," said Castillo. "And the entire school population suffers as a result of these types of bills, particularly schools and teachers and administrators who are dealing with real problems and need to focus on creating a welcome environment for every student."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Mary Bentley, stated earlier this year, "Each child in our schools has a right to privacy and to feel safe and to feel comfortable in the bathroom they need to go to."

Arkansas is now the fourth state, including Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, to enact similar laws banning transgender people from using restrooms that do not align with their biological sex.

Another proposed bill in Arkansas would charge an individual with misdemeanor sexual indecency with a child if they use a public restroom or changing room not aligned with their biological sex when a minor is present.

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