A bill that would ban people from using facilities in K-12 schools for a sex other than the one on their birth certificate passed the House Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

House Bill 322 (HB322) was filed in the Alabama House of Representatives by Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R – Hartselle) and has 47 co-sponsors. The prohibition would apply to bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, locker rooms, or any other facility that is limited by gender. 

The bill has certain exceptions, such as custodial care, employees carrying out work duties, emergency health services, and caretakers providing physical assistance when necessary. 

After passing the Education Committee, it will next be debated and voted on the House floor.

"The practice of requiring boys to use the boys' restroom and girls to use the girls' restroom is simple, common sense because we don't get to choose our gender – God has already done that for us," Stadthagen said. "Alabama is a state that is guided by Christian conservative values, and we must fight back against the liberal social architects who want to misinform, mislead, and confuse our children about the most basic biological facts of life."

Stadthagen was the only lawmaker present to answer questions, taking the podium to give a brief introduction. 

"As a legislator, we listen to our districts and our constituents, and we have heard several, several complaints about this situation happening in our state," Stadthagen said. "The problem ... number one is safety, safety of our female students in the bathrooms, that should be the most private place a student should go. And for males to consider themselves as females and be allowed in a female bathroom is unacceptable. As a parent, I do not want that to take place, and this is why I brought this bill."

According to Stadthagen, there have been several reports of sexual assault or rape in school restrooms, based on someone entering a restroom that was not assigned to their sex. He cited seven incidents that have taken place in Morgan and Cullman Counties alone, although those incidents did not involve any criminal prosecutions.

"There are some situations throughout the state where the kids showing up, first day of school, with their parents and attorneys," Stadthagen said. "The school administrator is literally sitting there with an attorney presented to them, and that person wants to use the female bathroom as a male. And then [the administrator] will offer them the faculty bathroom, and then the attorney will say 'that's discrimination towards my client, that's not acceptable.'"

Stadthagen stated that the law would be enforced based on the birth certificate provided by the student upon original admission to the K-12 school. Although he admits, there is not currently a law that prevents someone from altering their sex on a birth certificate.

Stadthagen also stated that the bill would prevent a K-12 school from eliminating gender-specific restrooms.

"This is a common-sense bill that will protect our children," said John Wahl, Chairman of the Alabama GOP. "The number-one job of the legislature is to protect the rights and the freedoms of the people of Alabama, and it still does that." 

Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R – Muscle Shoals), a co-sponsor of the bill, told 1819 News that he is signing on to the bill because of an instance in his district.

"One of the reasons I sponsored this bill is I have a transgender male using the female bathroom at Muscle Shoals High School," Sorrell said. "So, it's really, really personal to me."

Sorrell went on to say that the parents of students at the school were "outraged" at the situation, with scant support, if any.

"Muscle Shoals is a conservative city, so I haven't heard anybody excited about it," Sorrell concluded.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.