New Jersey’s attorney general is suing three school districts over their policies of notifying parents of gender dysphoria cases in children.
Middletown Township, Marlboro Township, and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Boards of Education recently adopted policies that require parents to be notified if students request “to change their names, be called by new pronouns, or request other accommodations,” said the Philadelphia Inquirer.
AG Matthew J. Platkin claims that if the parents of such kids are notified by schools about the child’s gender dysphoria, the risk of self-harm increases.
Critics, however, say that there is no evidence that parental involvement increases the risk of self-harm for kids who change their gender identity.
“In fact, the self-reported data indicates that parents who are highly involved in their child’s personal and academic lives positively influence children’s anxiety and depression,” writes Chad Felix Greene, author of Surviving Gender: My Journey Through Gender Dysphoria.
Marc H. Zitomer, a lawyer representing the Marlboro Board of Education, agrees with Greene.
“[I]t is our position that keeping parents in the dark about important issues involving their children is counterintuitive and contrary to well established Supreme Court case law that says that parents have a constitutional right to direct and control the upbringing of their children,” Zitomer wrote in a statement responding to the lawsuit, the Inquirer reports. “We are confident that the Board’s amended policy properly balances parental and student rights.”
Platkin characterized the policies as discriminatory against LGBT students, said Fox News.
But counsel for the Middletown Board said their policy is consistent with how every other aspect of the student’s life is treated, whether they are transgender or not.
“If any student, regardless of gender identity or expression, sought to change their official school records or was seeking or identified as needing counseling, parents would and should be notified, just as they are informed of every other aspect of their child’s activities in school,” Middletown Board Counsel Bruce W. Padula told Fox Digital. “Contrary to the Attorney General’s false narrative, this is not an ‘outing’ policy. Middletown will vehemently defend its policy.”
Platkin said that under New Jersey law, transgender kids are a protected class and the policies of three school districts run counter to New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
But Parental rights advocates say parents are the first line of defense for at-risk kids, and it’s wrong to exclude them from this important aspect of a child’s life. The key to making a student’s life better is communication with parents, not lying to them and suing school districts, they argue.
“If the parents don’t know it’s going on, how do they help their child navigate?” asked Nikki Stouffer, of Medford, a leader of NJ Fresh Faced Schools group, reported the inquirer. “Why would you want to hide this information from parents? It’s just not fair.”
In addition to seeking to overturn the policies of the three school districts, Platkin is also asking the Superior Court for an emergency injunction against the policies to be effective as soon as possible.