Another NJ school board removes state policy on trans students
📑 Controversial policy removed by another NJ school district
🚻 Trans students and parental notification have become public firestorm
🚸 School says it will ‘consider individual circumstances’ of child
At least three school districts in New Jersey have rolled back their policy on handling cases of transgender students, after confirmation that state policy was not mandatory.
On Thursday night, all seven members of the Lacey Township Board of Education unanimously voted on a resolution to rescind the district’s policy, which had been modeled after state guidance written in 2018.
Policy 5756, referred to as “transgender students,” was adopted in Lacey and similarly at school districts around the state in 2019, when it was believed to be mandatory.
As written, it advises schools to accept and respect a student’s declared gender identity, without a need for parental consent for a change in name, pronouns or other at-school attributes.
Some local school boards — including Hanover, Middletown, Marlboro and Manalapan — within the last year have made their own changes, allowing wider parental notification than the state policy calls for when it comes to trans students' social transitioning in their new gender.
In a Sept. 6 hearing in one of the state's lawsuits against those districts, a member of the state Office of the Attorney General said on record that “it is correct that this [Policy 5756] is not a policy that every district is mandated to have.”
Hanover Township schools were first to fully remove the state policy, in a Sept. 11 unanimous vote by the Hanover Board of Education.
More than a week later, the Colts Neck Board of Education took a similar vote, rescinding the policy, on Sept. 20.
NJ trans students: Small population at ‘high risk’
The policy dominating public attention and school resources at the local and state levels directly impacts about 1% of the households of roughly 1.3 million public school students in NJ.
Garden State Equality has said that with transgender individuals estimated as 7% of the U.S. population, there are an estimated 13,962 transgender students in K-12 schools in NJ.data
In a state-level analysis shared by The Trevor Project last year, 44% of trans or non-binary youth in NJ had considered suicide within the past year, with 16% of them attempting to take their own life.
73% of trans and non-binary youth in NJ reported symptoms of anxiety and 63% reported symptoms of depression.
Of the LGBTQ youth surveyed, just over half who wanted mental health care but did not receive it said they did not want to have to get their parent or caregiver’s permission.
Allies have argued that local school districts that have passed anti-trans policies, written as wanting “more parental involvement” were actually instead isolating the at-risk youth in question.
Parents have voiced concern for potentially not knowing crucial details about their children’s lives, regardless of age or grade level.
The issue has become extremely politicized, at a time when elections for local school boards have become hotbeds of misinformation and smear campaigns on neighbors.
The trans student policy and its controversies were also the subject of a New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall style discussion on Thursday, as heard below.