A judge has temporarily blocked the implementation of a controversial transgender policy that would affect three school districts. The state had asked for a preliminary injunction on the policy, that would require teachers to notify parents about changes in their child’s gender identity.
The Marlboro, Manalapan-Englishtown and Middletown school districts, which has approximately 18,000 students between them, adopted policies this past spring that would require staff and faculty to notify parents when students seek to change their names, pronouns, or ask for different gender-related accommodations.
State Superior Court Judge David Bauman wrote of the decision, “There is no protected group more vulnerable, or more susceptible, to physical or psychological harm than transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary youth.”
The decision came days after a two-hour hearing in which attorneys for both sides made arguments for and against the policy.
NJ State Attorney General Matthew Platkin had argued that if enforced, the policies could forcefully out students and cause discriminatory harm. He called the decision a “victory for civil rights.”
“As the Superior Court correctly recognized, the State is ‘not targeting parental rights.’ Indeed, the State has never sought and never will seek a “ban” on parental notification,” the Attorney General said in a statement. “All our lawsuits seek to do is to reinstate the same policies these districts found acceptable with little protest for years. Put simply, we can both keep parents informed about their children’s development and protect the civil rights of our most vulnerable students.”
The Marlboro school district released a statement on Facebook after the decision saying it “strongly refutes” the notion that the policy is discriminatory.
“In fact, the Board believes that the Judge’s ruling, which places the Board’s policy on hold for what could be several years, is a significant step backwards for parents who have a constitutional right to be aware and involved in the upbringing of their children,” the statement said.
The New Jersey Board of Education released a statement saying, “the school district is now severely constrained in its ability to notify parents about important issues involving their minor children, which is contrary to well settled law. We are exploring our avenues for appeal.”