The battle over notifying parents about their child's gender identity is happening in New Jersey too

Last week I wrote about the school district in Orange, California which voted to notify parents any time a child under the age of 12 signals a change of gender identity. Orange is actually the 6th district in California which has instituted such a rule. The first district to do so was sued by the state’s attorney general. Opponents of these rules call it “forced outing” and don’t believe parents have a right to know even when there very young children announce they are trans.


The battle over these rules is also taking place in New Jersey. A town has been fighting a rule put in place by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

Hanover Township, which includes the towns of Cedar Knolls and Whippany, voted unanimously Monday night to simply do away with a state policy that prevents schools from telling parents about their child transitioning.

The backstory here is that the Hanover Township school district passed a policy requiring that parents be notified if their kids change gender and, just as in California, the New Jersey Attorney General sued them to keep parents in the dark.

The state Attorney General’s Office has filed a civil rights complaint against the Hanover Township school district and requested an emergency court order to stop the district from implementing a policy adopted Tuesday night that would require teachers to disclose to parents the gender identity and sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ students.

The school district has, in turn, challenged the state, saying it will “vigorously defend” this policy which it says “protects parental rights and ensures the safety of all school children.”

Schools in New Jersey are required to accept a student’s preferred gender identity and pronouns without parental consent, according to the state’s Law Against Discrimination and the state Department of Education’s Transgender Student Guidance issued in 2018.


Gov. Murphy announced he supported the lawsuit at the time.

But there’s a significant wrinkle in the story. In the course of fighting the lawsuit brought by the AG, Hanover Township and three other districts discovered that the rule which had been presented to them as mandatory was in fact just guidance. And that meant they could simply repeal it.

…in the course of the hearing against Hanover Township, Deputy AG James Michael told Judge Stuart Minkowitz that policy 5756 was not, in fact, mandatory.

“It felt like a complete bombshell to us,” Middletown School Board vice president Jacqueline Tobacco told The Post…

The state won an injunction after the hearing last month — but the admission that the policy was a suggestion, not a mandate, has opened a new legal path for the districts: to simply vote to repeal 5756, rather than amend it, allowing them to deal with trans children case-by-case.

So now these districts can just repeal the rule and that’s what Hanover Township just did. Because of the ongoing court case it’s not clear how this will work out but there are at least 18 other school districts ready to repeal this guidance as soon as possible. Hanover has been looking at this issue for a year. Apparently some teachers were uncomfortable with outright lying to parents.


Middletown schools started looking at changing their policy about a year ago, when the board was told that the schools were using the new names of children who had changed gender identity, but altering standardized tests when they were sent home to use their birth names.

So the push to put parents back in control of their own children is happening in blue states on both coasts. Here’s hoping this trend continues until we have policies in every state making it clear that, absent extraordinary circumstances, parents are in charge, not kids, not activists and not teachers.

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