Trump transgender rule change hits home — Egg Harbor schools won’t adopt policy
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The school district has shot down a new transgender policy by a South Jersey district after announcing that the matter would not be on the agenda.
"Policy 5756 Transgender Students has been placed on hold. No action will be taken," read a link-less notice on the Egg Harbor Township School District website. According to Harry Hurley of Townsquare Media Talk Radio WPG, many people turned out "just in case the matter was brought up despite the notice."
But about 200 people came to the meeting, which was moved to the Alder Avenue School cafeteria, according to the Press of Atlantic City. The measure did come up for a vote — and was defeated by a 5-4 vote, the Press reported.
The policy would have allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities, as well as have allowed them into sports and other programs typically grouped by gender. It would have established rules for determining what pronouns to use in reference to transgender students and how to accomodate specific needs individuals may have.
"It was very deceptive for the EHT Board of Education to provide the public with advanced notice that they pulled this agenda item from consideration only to sneak it back on. Many residents and parents, etc. did not attend the meeting because the board deceived them," Hurley said.
Board president Louis DellaBarca told the Press the vote was tabled because there were not enough votes. Thirty people spoke at the hearing both for and against the issue, according to the Press.
Interim Egg Harbor Township school superintendent Frederick Nickles did not return messages seeking comment.
The vote came a week after the Trump administration ended federal protections for transgender students that instructed schools to allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities.
Without the Obama directive, it will be up to states and school districts to interpret federal anti-discrimination law and determine whether students should have access to restrooms in accordance with their expressed gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement last week. "Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students."
New Jersey's Department of Education has not issued any guidance on the matter.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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