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Judge blocks policy requiring parental notification if kids' well-being affected by gender transitioning, sexuality

Photo by Luis Soto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A New Jersey Superior Court temporarily blocked a school policy requiring staff to notify parents about circumstances impacting their child's physical or mental well-being if sexuality, gender expression, and gender transitioning is involved, News 12 New Jersey reported.

"The Hanover Township Board of Education believes that parents need to be fully informed of all material issues that could impact their children so that they – as parents – can provide the proper care and support for their children," HTBOE said in a statement Wednesday.

"The Board will vigorously defend this common-sense policy that protects parental rights and ensures the safety of all school children."

The policy is called "Parental Notice of Material Circumstances." It requires staff members to "say something to the parents and appropriate school administrators" if they "see something that could adversely affect the social/emotional well-being of a child."

Several examples are listed in the policy that "may have a material impact on a student’s physical and/or mental health and/or social/emotional well-being," which could prompt such a notification.

In addition to issues like alcohol use, gang affiliation, and suicide risks are "pornography; sexual activity; sexuality; sexual orientation; transitioning; gender identity or expression."

New Jersey's Gov. Murphy (D) is vehemently opposed to the school board's parental notification policy. He has framed the bill as forcing teachers to "out" LGBTQ+ students to their parents. Further, he says it jeopardizes students' well-being and mental health and violates their rights.

The policy went into effect Tuesday. New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin lodged a civil rights complaint Wednesday seeking to prohibit the policy's implementation.

"We will always stand up for the LGBTQ+ community here in New Jersey and look forward to presenting our arguments in court in this matter," AG Platkin said in a press release Wednesday.

The HTBOE says denies AG Platkin's assertions that the policy targets LGBTQ students and discriminates against them.

"Attorney General Platkin is trying to make this an LGBTQ issue, but that is not what the policy is about," New Jersey Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) said in a statement acquired by New Jersey 101.5.

"Hanover should be applauded for making a real effort to ensure that parents are informed of anything that could impact the mental or physical well-being of their children," Pennacchio added.

"It’s no surprise that the Murphy administration is again opposing transparency and parental rights," New Jersey Senator Ed Durr (R-Gloucester) told the outlet.

"While Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin seem to believe that the cold embrace of a government social worker is all that any child needs to thrive, we believe parents are the best caregivers for their children."

The temporary prohibition stopping the policy's implementation will remain in effect until May 30 when the court will hear arguments from both sides, News 12 New Jersey reported.

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