By Shawn Hyland, Executive Director
Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey
As an 80’s kid, I remember the public service announcement that came on TV each night after watching the safe sitcoms of a distant era of prime-time television. Just as bedtime approached before the nightly news, a short but repetitive question was asked to parents on a daily basis, “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?”
Nearly forty years later, the world is not same. I am now the adult, major networks offer few family friendly programs, and the question parents have to answer has dramatically changed. Sadly, we must ask: “It’s 8 AM. Do you know what gender your children are?”
In 2018, the New Jersey State Board of Education published their transgender guidance for school districts because of a specific law passed by the legislator in 2017 (N.J.S.A. 18a:36-41) that directed the Commissioner of Education to develop and distribute guidelines concerning transgender students. This included defining transgenderism and ensuring a student’s chosen gender identity remain confidential and concealed – even from their parents!
Although Governor Chris Christie’s administration passed the 2017 law, it was Governor Murphy’s administration that wrote and published the transgender guidelines for school districts we have now. They specifically call for a “student centered” approach:
A school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required. 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. Nor is a legal or court-ordered name change required. There is no affirmative duty for any school district personnel to notify a student’s parent or guardian of the student’s gender identity or expression.
(page 2-3, Transgender Student Guidance for School Districts)
This means your child can leave your house identifying as the gender that matches their biological sex, but then change their name, pronoun, clothes, and self-proclaimed gender identity at school, and you would never know. Because of this law, school districts statewide have adopted policies that prohibit teachers from telling parents the gender identity of their own children.
In other words, schools have legally obligated teachers to deceive parents!
It is happening more than you realize. Tragically, I have spoken to dozens of New Jersey public school teachers that are grieved and rightfully angered over this. One teacher, Rob DeJulia, a 20-year teacher in the Vernon Township School District, recently testified in opposition to this policy at a local school board meeting. If you are a public school teacher and want to voice your concerns along with other teachers, please contact us.
Summer break is here, but schools will restart in two months. Parents will need to answer this question as their children walk on the school bus this September: “It’s 8 AM Do I know what gender my children are?”
To contact the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey, visit www.familypolicyalliance.com/newjersey.
This article reprinted with permission from the NJ Family Policy Alliance.