Bathroom bill clears state House Education Committee

A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.
A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.

The Arkansas House Education Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would restrict transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice at school.

House Bill 1156 would require public schools and open enrollment public charter schools to bar people from using a restroom that does not correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate. The bill applies to places at schools where people "may be in various stages of undress" around others, which includes multiple-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and shower rooms.

Rep. Mary Bentley, the bill’s sponsor, said it is aimed at protecting students who may feel uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender student.

“I think it’s a great bill that’s going to help all of our students feel not only safe, but feel comfortable to be able to use the bathroom they need to when they go to school,” said Bentley, a Republican from Perryville.