June 26, 2023

Clifton and Sauickie want rhetoric on school’s transgender policy corrected

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblymen Rob Clifton and Alex Sauickie want to correct the record on recent reports that boards of education in their district are harming transgender students.

On June 22, Attorney General Matt Platkin filed civil rights complaints less than 48 hours after the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education adopted an updated policy on transgender students. The board, with input from its own attorney and members, as well as from the public, added inclusive language to notify parents and guardians of a child’s public social transition accommodation.

Platkin’s complaint argues that the policy discriminates against transgender students and subjects them to irreparable harm. Conversely, he says schools that hide students’ gender identities from parents and guardians flourish in school.

“I’ve discussed the updated policy with stakeholders, and nowhere does it state that students must share their public social and possibly surgical transition with family, when they truly believe they will be physically or emotionally harmed. The policy states the opposite, so the attorney general needs to stop fearmongering,” Clifton (R-Monmouth) said. “What should scare people is Murphy’s and Platkin’s implicit argument: there is only one, state-endorsed way to handle gender dysphoria, and that is transition. They believe that’s a decision to be made between schools and the minor child.”

Under state guidelines, students need only declare a gender identity contrary to their biological sex to change their name and pronouns, and use their preferred bathroom facilities, among other accommodations, in school.

Before government lockdowns forced students out of the classroom for nearly two years, 16 students identified as non-binary in 2019. That number skyrocketed more than 4,000% to 675 students as of September 2022, or 0.05% of New Jersey public school students.

The board of education adopted its updated policy June 20, after nearly three hours of public comment.

“I’ll say the quiet part out loud. In almost every statement I’ve seen about this, Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matt Platkin have made parents and guardians the enemies of their children,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “They believe the worst of New Jersey moms and dads, who with rare exception know, love, and protect their own children more than even the best teacher or adult role model. I don’t know what policy Platkin read, but the one I read shows parents and school personnel working together to help suffering students, not harm them.”