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Kansas Bill Would Let Students Sue Over Transgender Bathroom Use

2 minute read

Lawmakers in Kansas have introduced a bill to the state house and senate that could give students $2,500 if they encounter a transgender person using the bathroom not designated for their sex “at birth.”

The “Student Physical Privacy Act” would mandate that students only use bathrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms designated for their birth sexes, in all public schools and universities. A separate clause also allows students to sue their schools for $2,500 if the law isn’t fully enforced.

“I think any child or young adult has a right to have their privacy protected when they’re in various stages of undress,” Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Republican senator, told the Kansas City Star.

According to the house bill, students “have a right not to encounter a person of the opposite sex” when entering facilities for their own sex. If this right is violated, the bill lists “Statutory damages in an amount of $2,500 for each instance in which the aggrieved student encountered a person of the opposite sex while accessing a public school or postsecondary educational institution student restroom, locker room or shower room designated for use by the aggrieved student’s sex.” The senate version contains similar language.

“It’s putting a target on their back,” Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, told the Star, referring to the laws’ effect on transgender students.

Committees introduced the bills for consideration on March 16. The legislative session ends April 1.

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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com