New Jersey’s attorney general filed a civil rights complaint Wednesday against Hanover Township Board of Education challenging a policy that advises educators to notify parents if their child is transitioning genders at school.
The Hanover Township Board of Education adopted a “Parental Notice of Material Circumstances” policy on Tuesday that requires educators to “say something to the parents and appropriate school administrators,” if they “see something that could adversely affect the social/emotional well-being of a child.” New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin filed a civil rights complaint to the state’s Division of Civil Rights (DCR) alleging that the school board’s policy discriminates against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Policy 8463 [Parental Notice of Material Circumstances policy] will irreparably harm transgender and other LGBTQ+2 students by requiring parental disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity or expression without their consent,” the complaint stated. “‘Outing’ LGBTQ+ students against their will poses serious mental health risks; threatens physical harm to students, including risking increased suicides; and shirks the District’s obligation to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all. Indeed, LGBTQ+ students in New Jersey and elsewhere have died by suicide after being outed.”
Platkin and the DCR filed an emergency motion to request a temporary pause to the policy while the litigation is pending, according to a press release.
Under New Jersey guidance, a school district must accept a student’s change in gender identity. Parental consent is not required by the state for a student to change their gender at school, the guidance showed.
Educators are advised to have “an open, but confidential discussion with the student to ascertain the student’s preference on matters such as chosen name, chosen pronoun to use and parental communications,” the state guidance showed.
The Hanover Board of Education said that its new policy does not discriminate against or target students on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, according to a Wednesday press release. The policy also requires educators to notify parents of additional concerns that might harm a student’s physical and mental well-being including substance use, tobacco use and alcohol use.
“The Hanover Township Board of Education believes that parents need to be fully informed of all material issues that could impact their children so that they — as parents — can provide the proper care and support for their children,” the board of education said in a statement. “The Board will vigorously defend this common-sense policy that protects parental rights and ensures the safety of all school children.”
Throughout the country, school districts are adopting policies that hide students’ gender transitions from their parents; some of the nation’s largest school systems including Los Angeles Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools and New York Public Schools require educators to keep students’ change in pronouns a secret from their parents but do require parental permission for over-the-counter medication.
The Hanover Township Board of Education referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to its press release and Platkin did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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