Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 4, 2020

The ACLU of South Dakota commends the Senate Education Committee for voting to table Senate Bill 88.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposed Senate Bill 88, legislation that would have required school counselors, school psychologists or social workers to break their students’ trust and inform parents if their children identify as transgender or are expressing feelings of gender dysphoria.

The bill would have infringed on a student’s right to privacy and would have deterred young people from seeking support from trusted adults in positions to counsel them. Additionally, by forcing disclosure of someone’s trans or questioning status to a non-affirming parent, Senate Bill 88 could have had very serious implications for transgender students, potentially resulting in the young person becoming homeless or physically harmed.

“We’re thrilled with the committee’s decision to table this bill, sending a clear message of inclusion and acceptance for our transgender friends and neighbors,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “No one is harmed by allowing school counselors, school psychologists or social workers to create a safe and welcoming educational environment for transgender students in our public schools.”

About the ACLU of South Dakota

Decisions made during the annual sessions of the South Dakota Legislature have a deep and lasting impact on our state’s people and communities. As new laws are created and others repealed or written, it’s important to ensure that these changes preserve and strengthen our constitutional rights.

Based in Sioux Falls, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.