Home • Gloucester County News Parents seek repeal of district’s transgender policy

Parents seek repeal of district’s transgender policy

Board of ed members say they are simply complying with state law

Joseph Metz/The Sun
Parents registered their opinions on the policy at the board of education’s Sept. 18 session.

A group of parents at the Mantua board of education meeting on Sept. 18 shared their concerns about district transgender policies they feel would negatively affect the well-being of their children.

The session was the first for the board since the start of the new school year. The district’s policy on transgender student guidance – known as policy 5756 – follows state guidelines.

“A school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required,” reads the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). “Further, a student need not meet any threshold diagnosis or treatment requirements to have his or her gender identity recognized and respected by the district, school or school personnel.”

The concerned parents suggested the district repeal the policy because it does not require a parent or guardian to be informed of a student’s gender identity.

“What reason do you have for keeping it in place?” asked a resident who identified himself only as Evan. “Other than that, you support it, and you support hiding a kid’s mental health issue from their parents, or that you support boys using girl’s bathrooms, and that you support boys using girl’s locker rooms, or vice versa.”

The fear among parents is that such instances could lead to sexual assault in bathrooms, with Evan suggesting he could name “numerous cases” of such assault, without providing examples. He also called the idea that some information be kept from parents “nonsense,” and that people who believe otherwise are “regurgitating stuff they see on CNN.”

The Mantua school district encompasses three elementary schools for pre-K to sixth grade.

The board did not make a decision on repealing the transgender policy, but members said doing so would be bad for the district. Their decision, they added, is based on a recommendation from Strauss Esmay Associates LLP, which provides consulting services to state schools.

“These policies are a choice by the board,” said Superintendent Christine Trampe. “It is recommended by Strauss Esmay because that is our law firm that writes the policies and regulations to ensure that we have procedures, policies and regulations in place to ensure we are not breaking the laws.

“If we did not have this policy, if that policy was to be voted away, then the district could be held liable for not ensuring the fact we are following anti-discrimination laws.”

“It’s the district’s obligation, this district and every other district in the state of New Jersey, as it pertains to transgender students,” noted Board Solicitor Alicia D’Amelia. “(It) comes directly from the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

“Gender identity is a protected category,” she added. “So regardless of what your policy says, your obligation to students, whether it is bathroom access, whether it is pronoun or name usage or whether it is anything else, all of that flows from your obligation to comply with the law against discrimination.

“What that means is that you can’t treat a transgender student different from any other student.”

The next Mantua board of ed meeting will take place at Centre City Elementary School on Monday Oct. 9, at 7 p.m.

Exit mobile version