NJ school districts suffer legal setback in fight for parental rights against state

Three New Jersey school districts leading the charge on parental rights will be temporarily blocked from enforcing new policies requiring staff to alert parents if their child changes their gender identity.

A state judge sided Friday with New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who sued the districts after they made it mandatory for their schools to tell parents if their children formally wanted to change their gender identity, pronouns or name, use different bathrooms, or change the gender of teams they play in.

“The state has demonstrated a reasonable probability of success on its claim that the Amended Policies, if implemented, will have a disparate impact on transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary youth,” Monmouth County Judge David Bauman wrote in issuing a preliminary injunction.

However, he noted that he was “not rendering any final judgments or determinations as to the merits of either the State or the School Boards’ claims,” pending the outcome of a larger, civil rights case related to the issue.

The school districts — Middletown Township, Marlboro Township and Manalapan-Englishtown — previously agreed to temporarily suspend their new policies as the closely watched issue gets hashed out.

Platkin has argued that the districts’ policies pose a serious risk to children’s safety by outing transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students.

Three New Jersey school district created new policies that would require staff to alert parents if their child formally changes any aspect of their gender identity. NJ.com“Simply put, these policies violate our laws, and we will not relent in protecting our LGBTQ+ community—especially our children—from discrimination,” he said in a June statement.

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The New Jersey Board of Education slammed Friday’s ruling, claiming that parents will be left in the dark during the time it takes for the courts to reach a resolution.

“We are disappointed that the Court granted the State’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking our implementation of the amended policy until the matter is resolved at the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights – a process that could take years,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

A judge issued a temporary ban on the policies until the larger case is settled.Alex N. Gecan via Imagn Content Services, LLC“In the meantime, the school district is now severely constrained in its ability to notify parents about important issues involving their minor children, which is contrary to well settled law. We are exploring our avenues for appeal.”

Bauman said he hopes a decision will come “expeditiously” and that the state and districts can reach “a consensus of policy of parental disclosure that best strikes a legally appropriate and practice balance between protecting the civil rights of transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary students, and the well-settled right of parental oversight over the care and upbringing of their children.”

The three districts, which between them have 18,000 students, adopted or amended the policies earlier this summer in an effort to provide more transparency for parents on their kids’ day-to-day lives.

Gov. Phil Murphy pushed back against the policies, claiming they would be harmful to young people.APMultiple parents supported the disclosure policy, with many telling The Post that the state is meddling in their private lives by challenging the rules in court.

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“I do not, will not ever co-parent with the government,” Caterina Skalaski, a mother of three from Middletown, said last week.

Gov. Phil Murphy — who lives within the confines of the Middletown Township school district — blasted the policies as illegal and simply harmful.

The governor, whose children have already graduated from high school, called the policies the result of a “culture war.”

“But let’s not violate the constitutional and civil rights of precious young folks in many cases, who are coming to grips with life as they grow up and grow older, let’s be respectful of that,” Murphy said.

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