New Jersey’s Democratic Attorney General Matthew Platkin is suing a township school board over its policy that requires parental notification in matters of gender dysphoria and sexual orientation.
Hanover Township School District has implemented a policy which would require school staff to notify parents of “any facts or circumstances that may have a material impact on a student’s physical or mental health and social or emotional well-being,” according to a statement released by the township, said local ABC News 7.
In statement, Platkin claimed the Hanover policy “discriminates against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, targeting transgender students and other students who identify as LGBTQ+ and requiring parental notification for LGBTQ+ youth but not their peers.”
It’s unclear by the AG statement exactly how the policy would target only LGBTQ teens, and exclude the physical, mental, social and emotional well-being of other teens.
In a statement to Fox News, the school district said that a clear reading of the policy shows that it provides blanket protection for any teens regardless of sexual orientation.
“[A] simple reading of Policy 8463 reveals that it requires school staff members to notify appropriate school administrators and a student’s parents whenever the staff member is made aware of any facts or circumstances that may have a material impact on a student’s physical and/or mental health,” said the school district.
The district claims the Attorney General’s office is mischaracterizing the policy.
The school district has countered that the policy protects parental rights and ensures the safety of children.
One GOP state lawmaker agreed, saying that the Hanover policy supports a range of behavioral issues with kids that parents need to know about.
“Attorney General Platkin is trying to make this an LGBTQ issue, but that is not what the policy is about,” said Republican state Sen. Joe Pennacchio. “Hanover should be applauded for making a real effort to ensure that parents are informed of anything that could impact the mental or physical well-being of their children. I stand 100% with the Board of Education and with parents who know best how to care for their kids.”
Pennacchio’s office noted that the range of issues covered under the policy include, but are not limited to: substance use; tobacco/vaping use; alcohol use; firearms; peer/academic/athletic pressures; school performance; eating disorders; suicide; self-harm; anxiety; depression; fatigue; isolationism/anti-social behavior/ social withdraw; truancy; theft; vandalism; unlawful activity; violent or aggressive behavior; preoccupation with anti-social music; pornography; sexual activity; sexuality; sexual orientation; transitioning; gender identity or expression; gang affiliation; obsessive compulsive behaviors; familial/cultural challenges; harassment; intimidation; or bullying.
State law in New Jersey requires schools to accept a child’s decision on gender identity and pronoun usage without parental notification, said NorthJersey.com.
The Attorney General’s office is seeking a temporary injunction in order to prevent the township’s board of education from carrying out the policy while the lawsuit works its way through the courts.
The AG has assigned seven attorney’s to sue the township, according to a statement by the AG’s staff.