More NJ school districts take action on transgender policy
🔵 The Millstone Board of Education rejected the state's transgender policy Tuesday
🔵 Hanover reaffirmed its vote to rescind the policy despite legal threats
🔵 Holmdel takes a vote Wednesday
Another New Jersey Board of Education is ready to rescind the state's transgender policy as another takes a vote and a third reaffirms its vote under the threat of a lawsuit from state Attorney General Matt Platkin.
Latest school district to rescind state policy
The Millstone Board of Education Tuesday became the latest Monmouth County district to rescind its policy 5756 after learning it was not a mandatory state policy.
The policy 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.
At issue is whether or not the policy keeps transgender students safe from their parents who may not understand their decision, or shuts out parents completely.
The state's acknowledgment in court that the policy is not mandatory is expected to lead other districts to take similar votes..
Strauss Esmay, a company that advises districts on state compliance, marked the policy as mandatory but Deputy Attorney General James Michael conceded before a judge that the ban on parental notification was only "guidance."
After discussion at its last meeting, the Holmdel Board of Education is expected to remove the policy at its meeting on Wednesday.
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More districts vote to rescind transgender policy
Boards of Education in Colts Neck and Lacey rescinded their policy 5756 most recently. The Howell school board must give the policy two more readings before it can make the same action final.
The Hanover Board of Education, which repealed the policy in May, was promptly sued by Platkin for violating state rules. But with the realization it was only guidance, the board took a vote at its Sept. 11 to again eliminate the policy.
Platkin responded with an order for the district to keep its policy 5756 in place and to pay for the state's legal fees.
Undaunted, Hanover reaffirmed its vote Tuesday after hearing from people on both sides of the issue. Among those speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting was state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, whose district does not include Hanover.
Public reaction at school board meetings
"I think it's evil for an adult to tell a child to not tell mommy and daddy what's going on in school," Pennacchio said to applause. "Does a parent have to find out that their child has these internal struggles and issues by finding out and meeting them in a hospital or worse yet in a morgue?"
Christina Dunne told News 12 that the repeal hurts transgender children students as the policy offers their protection.
New Jersey 101.5 has learned that the board's attorney told members that their insurance carrier will pay for the state's legal fees.
A video of the Hanover BOE meeting is not available.
School boards in Manalapan, Marlboro and Middletown voted to amend their policies and were all hit with lawsuits by Platkin. A judge required all three districts to keep their policies in place pending future court hearings. The districts for the moment are complying with the order.