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Policy on Sexuality/Gender Identity in HS Activities: Bill Would Transfer Decision from SDHSAA to State Lawmakers

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South Dakota State Capital Building
South Dakota State Capital Building

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Lawmakers in Pierre will soon discuss the authority of the South Dakota High School Activities Association over sexuality and/or gender identity policy as regards students participating in high school activities. The current policy, which was implemented by the activities association, allows the participation of all students (regardless of sexuality or gender identity) in SDHSAA sanctioned events.

House Bill 1161 reads, “the association (SDHSAA) may not establish policy relating to sexuality or gender identity, other than the basic distinction between the male and female high school activities.”

John Krogstrand with the South Dakota High School Activities Association said the association has not yet taken a position on this bill, but he says there is room for concern.

“There are transgender students in our South Dakota schools,” said Krogstrand. “Our concern is that some kind of policy needs to be in place to guide schools in South Dakota.”

If this bill were to pass and become a law, the state legislature would have the authority to create their own policy for the participation of students in SDHSAA sanctioned events.

In the past, transgender students and supporters have noted that federal law, in the realm of discrimination, protects them.