CA governor signs bill requiring gender-neutral bathrooms in schools

On Saturday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills that enhanced the state’s protections for LGBTQ+ youth.

Among them, is a change to the law that allows students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The new California law requires K-12th grade public schools to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom for students by 2026.

“The conversation about adding gender-neutral restrooms has been going on for several years,” said Ryan Pinkerton, San Luis Coastal Unified School District Assistant Superintendent.

The two high schools in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District already have gender-neutral bathrooms.

Pinkerton says the district is using school bond money to add more.

“We’re going to be doing the same at our middle schools, elementary schools and our continuation school,” Pinkerton said.

Locals have mixed opinions on the issue.

“It’s ridiculous. I think it just opens up a whole can of worms for things you don’t want to have happening at school,” said Carol Foster, Shell Beach resident.

Foster says she taught PE at a public middle school for 35 years and feels passionately about the new requirement. She says she always had to monitor the kids after PE class.

“One thing I had to do was to police every day. The girls go in and the boys go in and make sure there’s no trouble going on in the bathrooms,” Foster said.

Arroyo Grande resident Yvonne Kendall, however, says it is a step in the right direction.

“I’m happy that the governor has done this. I think it’s very forward-thinking and I think it’s going to lead to much more acceptance overall,” Kendall said.

She says she does not think bathrooms are a “danger zone.”

“I don’t think boys and girls being together or people who are transgender being together actually makes for a more dangerous space,” Kendall said.

Pinkerton says the new law taking effect in 2026 might be a stretch for some school districts financially because of a lack of funding.

While Newsom signed the gender-neutral bathroom law, he vetoed a bill requiring judges to consider whether a parent affirms their child’s gender identity when making custody and visitation decisions. CA governor signs bill requiring gender-neutral bathrooms in schools

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