New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s administration has filed lawsuits against three school districts that adopted new policies related to transgender students.
New Jersey Doesn’t Want Parents Involved In Kid’s Secrets
The state of New Jersey has sued three school districts after they changed their policies to require parental notification if students come out as transgender or change their preferred pronouns.
New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin filed three new lawsuits challenging board of education policies requiring school staff to notify parents of gender identity or expression of students.
The new policies thrust the state into a growing national battle over transgender rights and LGBTQ+ expression in schools.
Alleging that the notification policies discriminate against LGBTQ+ students, Platkin sought an order in Superior Court for an emergency injunction to prevent them from taking effect.
Platkin claims the districts will endanger the safety of transgender students by enacting the policies.
A Middletown district meeting was protested by more than 350 people who said the policy would “out” LGBTQ students.
New Policy States Teachers Must Alert Parents
Middletown Township, Marlboro Township, and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Boards of Education adopted or amended school policies will require staff to notify parents if their child begins using a different name, pronouns, or a bathroom that contradicts their sex.
In the lawsuit, Platkin stated that “outing” transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary students poses “serious mental health risks; threatens physical harm to students, including increased risk of suicide; and shirks the District’s duty to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all.”
“In New Jersey, we will not tolerate any action by schools that threatens the health and safety of our young people. Without question, the discriminatory policies passed by these Boards of Education, if allowed to go into effect, will harm our kids and pose severe risk to their safety,” Platkin added.
NJ Citizens Have Mixed Feelings
Supporters say the policies protect parental rights and students from potential harassment and bullying by their peers.
Advocates have targeted school library books, too, most frequently those about race, racism, gender, or sexuality.
“If the parents don’t know it’s going on, how do they help their child navigate?” said Nikki Stouffer, of Medford, a leader of NJ Fresh Faced Schools group. ”Why would you want to hide this information from parents? It’s just not fair.”
State guidance says that schools “shall ensure” that students are addressed by their preferred pronouns, can dress in accordance with their gender identity, and that parental notification or consent is not required.
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