Iowa Bathroom Bill creating changes in area schools

Iowa schools in the Quad City schools are adjusting after Gov. Reynolds signed the Iowa “Bathroom Bill,” also known as Senate File 482.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - After Governor Kim Reynolds passed the Iowa “Bathroom Bill” many schools have began working to create accommodations for their students.

Iowa schools in the Quad City schools are adjusting after Gov. Reynolds signed the Iowa “Bathroom Bill,” also known as Senate File 482, which took effect immediately and came just one day after Arkansas’s governor signed a similar bathroom law.

In Iowa, the new law bars transgender students from using public school restrooms that align with their gender identity. Students will need parental consent for special accommodations like using a faculty or single-occupancy bathroom.

Districts like Bettendorf and Clinton say that they are currently working with their communities to create viable alternatives in case families request bathroom spaces for their children.

In a written statement, the Bettendorf administration said they “Want to assure our transgender and non-binary students and their families that they have the support of the Bettendorf Community School District and its staff. We are committed to creating an unwavering safe, welcoming and affirming environments for all students, staff and families regardless of gender identity.”

According to Clinton administration, they say affected students will be notified and accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Pleasant Valley District has already created spaces compliant with current laws, with clearly identifiable single-use bathrooms throughout the school, and single-use locker rooms that can only be accessed by student keycards. Then once inside the student can lock the door to prevent another person from walking into that area.

“We talk to the student first, then we talk to the families we bring them in and we have a conversation about what this would look like, how it’s respectful for them and how it’s respectful for the students. Then we walk them through how we have single occupancy restrooms available and locker rooms available,” said Pleasant Valley Superintendent Brian Strusz.

Organizations that supported the legislation prior to its passing talked about the key issue that lawmakers found when discussing the “Bathroom Bill.”

“The conversations I overheard was that there was a strong desire to prioritize privacy and safety over politics or ideology, and to really find ways to compassionately accommodate all children,” said the Vice President of the Family Leader Foundation Chuck Hurley.

While the law states it was meant to be implemented immediately, schools say they are working on communicating with their districts to discuss the next steps and possible options.