The New Jersey Superior Court has temporarily blocked a school policy mandating staff to inform parents about issues impacting their child’s physical or mental well-being, including those related to sexuality, gender expression, and gender transitioning. The Hanover Township Board of Education (HTBOE) maintains that this policy aims to keep parents informed of crucial issues affecting their children to ensure they can provide adequate care and support. Examples cited in the policy that might warrant parental notification range from alcohol use and gang affiliation to pornography, sexual activity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
However, New Jersey’s Governor, Murphy (D), is in strong opposition to this policy, suggesting that it compels teachers to involuntarily disclose the sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBTQ+ students to their parents. He contends that the policy risks students’ well-being and mental health, and “infringes on their rights”.
The policy was enforced on Tuesday, but Attorney General Matt Platkin swiftly lodged a civil rights complaint to halt its implementation, expressing his commitment to standing up for the LGBTQ+ community in New Jersey.
Despite this, the HTBOE denies accusations that the policy specifically targets and discriminates against LGBTQ+ students. Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) stated that the policy is not about making this an LGBTQ+ issue, but ensuring parents are informed of factors that could impact their children’s well-being. Senator Ed Durr (R-Gloucester) echoed this sentiment, criticizing Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin for opposing transparency and parental rights.
The temporary block on the policy will hold until May 30, when the court is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides.