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Lawmaker says Wisconsin may get sued over school restroom bill

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MILWAUKEE -- A Republican state lawmaker said Wisconsin may be sued if his bill forbidding transgender students from using the school restroom of their choosing passes the Legislature.Transgender

Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, said a statewide law would clarify the issue and protect individual school districts from lawsuits over their own policies.

"If we put everyone under a statewide policy, the state department of justice will have to back up this law, and take care of this and defend it," Kremer said.

If a transgender student didn't want to use the assigned restroom, Kremer's bill requires school administrators to find an alternative, such as a unisex or faculty restroom.

For Shannon Panszi, the mother of a transgender elementary school student, the bill is discriminatory.

"My children have a high respect for adults, for government, for school, and for them to hear that they're saying, 'We don't think you are who you say you are,' that's devastating," Panszi said.

Her child's Milwaukee County school, which she asked FOX6 News not to name to protect her family, allows transgender students to use the restroom with which they identify.

Kremer said the issue came up in his hometown of Kewaskum last school year, and district officials allowed the student to use a faculty restroom.

Kewaskum Superintendent Jim Smasal said he couldn't discuss the decision, citing student privacy. When asked, Smasal also declined to endorse Kremer's bill.

School restroom


Administrators in Oconomowoc, faced with similar questions in 2013, decided that transgender students could use a unisex restroom.

Milwaukee Public Schools administrators leave the decision up to individual schools, a district spokesman said.

Kremer said he believed transgender students would face less bullying if they used a faculty or unisex restroom, but said he was also interested in promoting "safety" and "privacy" for heterosexual students.

"It's funny because I'm hearing from the other side, the side that says they support the transgender students, and they feel they should be able to do whatever they want -- but no one on that side is talking about all the other kids. Our bill talks about all kids," said Kremer.

Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Kremer's legislation, which is currently circulating in the state Capitol for additional co-sponsors.

Panszi said lawmakers should stay out of the debate.

"My child and I think most people go to the bathroom for the same reason -- which is to use the bathroom. They're not there for any other reason," she said.


  • Ara Catastrofee

    Wow, state funds are actually being used to pay for this ridiculousness? Just let the kids use the facilities that correspond to theor long-held, sincerw gender identities. Hey, religious freedom makes us bow to the belief in some mystical sky man who can’t be proven exists but with something tangible, that can be diagnosed, it’s too hard to understand? Jeez, stop wasting our money!!

    • George

      Well said. How about instead of wasting the money on this garbage legislation they put more money back into\schools?

      • calvin

        its a serious and fragile topic! my opinion is keep the men and women/boys and girls restrooms the same and create two other special type of restrooms. all students kids and adults aren’t gonna take this serious and that’s when things really get out of hand! I hope they make the right decisions!

    • R

      Dear sir or ma’am,
      Unlike religion, sexual identity is pretty freaking easy to prove. Stand in front of a mirror and pull your pants down. If you see anything dangling, you are a man. Congratulations, use the corresponding bathroom. What, you don’t trust biology anymore? Has your faith in “science” dwindled? Congratulations, you’re now with the rest of us who think global warming is also a hoax.

      By the way, proving God exists is also pretty easy. “Cogito Ergo Sum.”

    • chuckiejohnson

      Gender identities? You’re a kook. If you have female parts, use the female restroom. If you have male parts, use the male restroom. It is that easy.

      If idiots like you are going to whine, make all restrooms one person only and unisex.

  • Myra

    Why is this even being discussed at a state level, other than to make a legislator appear relevant? “Less government” means you let the smallest entity possible make decisions. In this case, that is the school or school board. No need at all for state laws.

  • Opinion8d

    @Cynic I completely agree with your comments – thought I would let you know before it gets deleted. I’m sure the mom would be completely fine using a shower at the gym with a biological male next to her because he identifies as a ‘she’……

    • CYNIC

      Funny you mentioned that. Didn’t University of Toronto recently have to walk back it’s gender-neutral dorm bathroom policy after several women complained they caught men taking cell phone shower videos of them? The only reason it happened is that the rules allowed it to.

    • IMunique2

      That article you linked does not explain any alternative therapy at all and besides that McHugh’s research has been deemed out of date by many in the Phsyciatric community.

  • Bob

    This is just the tipping point right now, it’s now starting at grade school level. What happens when these shims (she/him) get into the work environment? I will tell you from experience, the human resource department won’t touch this matter right now with a ten foot pole in fear of possible lawsuits for discrimination, totally discusting. That’s why the state has to step in just to protect the schools and our next generation. I agree it should have never got to this point in society, but this is the outcome of years of giving in to the small minority of people time and time again, how about using some common sense.

  • Willie

    Wisconsin got sued over Act 10 a dozen times. Wisconsin got sued over voter ID. Wisconsin can get sued for anything. Derp derp derp.

    If you were worried about lawsuits, don’t pass any legislation… and then you still get sued. Politicians are full of crap.

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