New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin (D) is suing to block three school districts from implementing new policies that would out transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students to their parents.
On Thursday, Platkin announced that he had filed complaints with the state’s Division of Civil Rights (DCR) against the Middletown Township, Marlboro Township, and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Boards of Education. The complaints challenge the policies and file emergency motions requesting the state’s Superior Court to issue preliminary injunctions and temporary restraints to prevent all three districts from implementing the policies.
“You will have blood on your hands should a trans student takes their life because of this,” a civil rights lawyer told one of the school boards.
Earlier this week, all three districts approved similar policy changes requiring school officials to notify a student’s parents if they request to use a different name or be addressed by pronouns that do not match those that align with the sex they were assigned at birth. The New Jersey Department of Education’s Transgender Student Guidance requires schools to ensure a safe and supportive environment for transgender students under state and federal law.
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According to a press release issued by New Jersey Attorney General’s office, the complaints allege that all three policies violate the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. The school districts’ policies expressly target transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary students by singling them out for differential treatment and expose students to the potential for severe harms to their safety and mental health, Platkin’s office said in a press release.
“In New Jersey, we will not tolerate any action by schools that threatens the health and safety of our young people,” Platkin said. “Without question, the discriminatory policies passed by these Boards of Education, if allowed to go into effect, will harm our kids and pose severe risk to their safety.”
“Simply put, these policies violate our laws, and we will not relent in protecting our LGBTQ+ community — especially our children — from discrimination,” he continued.
Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights, said, “School policies that single out or target LGBTQ+ youth fly in the face of our State’s longstanding commitment to equality. Our laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, plain and simple, and we will not waver in our commitment to enforcing those protections.”
Platkin and the DCR previously took action against the Hanover Township Board of Education challenging a similar parent notification policy. According to the AG’s press release, the litigation in that case is still pending. However, the New Jersey Superior Court has temporarily blocked the district from enforcing its policy while it considers the case.