Multiple New Jersey School Districts Scrap Transgender Policies

( – Last week, 2 school districts in New Jersey made significant decisions regarding the state’s transgender school policies. The Franklin Lakes School District voted to get rid of its adoption of the state’s transgender policy. Similarly, the Westwood Regional School, just a few miles away, also voted to not use the state’s policies either.

The state’s policy outlines that school staff should maintain a student’s gender identity confidential from parents unless the student consents or if there’s a potential threat to the student’s well-being. It also mandates that students identifying as transgender should have access to facilities and sports teams aligning with their gender identity. The policy also provides definitions for terms regarding transgender identity, so that students or parents can be better informed regarding their children’s decisions.

Scott Loia, a member of the Franklin Lakes board, spearheaded the resolution to remove the transgender policy. He expressed skepticism towards the concept of gender identity, stating that a simpler approach would be more effective. He also said that districts modifying the state’s policy faced more legal challenges than those outright rejecting it. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that students aren’t adversely impacted by staff withholding information from parents. However, with two new board members joining in January, the fate of the transgender policy in Franklin Lakes remains uncertain.

The Westwood district, anticipating new board members next month, has also been grappling with the policy’s implications. Irene Fenarjian, a board member, criticized the policy for presuming guilt regarding student safety at home, asserting that existing safety measures within the district are sufficient.

Franklin Lakes serves over 1,000 students, while Westwood caters to nearly 3000. During the summer, multiple schools were sued by the state of NJ because they made new policies regarding school districts having to let parents know their child wants to switch their gender identity.

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