8-year-olds surveyed on gender identity and religion by NJ schools (Opinion)
It hasn’t been a great couple of months for Cedar Grove BOE member Christine Dye.
Dye has been a resident of Cedar Grove for the last 17 years and a member of its Board of Education for the last 11. And parents are doing their best to have her ousted from the board. And, according to a tapinto.net article, they’re getting close.
In the spring of 2021, when Christine Dye was serving as president of the board, she was a member of an Equity Diversity and Advisory Council that created a controversial survey administered to high school, middle, and elementary school children, the youngest being third-grade students.
It’s what was in the survey that’s got parents up in arms. The survey, according to another tapinto.net article about the situation, reportedly asked students as young as third grade (that’s around 8 to 9 years old, by the way) about race and ethnicity, as well ask questions about their “gender identity,” “religious affiliation,” and whether “a school is a safe place for people who don’t look like you.”
Questions like that are delicate enough, but asking them without getting parents' permission, which is reportedly what happened, is not OK — especially when doing so seems to violate district policy and state and federal laws requiring prior written informed parental consent.
So it’s not surprising that nearly 100 parents wrote a letter to the New Jersey acting commissioner of education expressing their outrage at the administration of the survey without their consent and a recall of Dye was demanded.
In order for a proper recall to happen, a petition must be signed by at least 25% of those registered to vote within the district on the date of its last general election. That means 2,802 signatures were required. The petition got 3,032, TAP Into reported.
In a letter to the editor that she wrote into tapinto.net, Dye explained that after a student wrote to the board describing being bullied and harassed, the board needed to take action, especially when it came to LGBTQ students who felt marginalized, ridiculed and helpless.
After committees were formed to address the problems of bullying and marginalization, the committee made the recommendation to administer a “climate survey” to find the students who were at risk. She and the other members of a five-person panel agreed to send out a survey, she explained in her letter.
According to the tapinto.net piece, on Thursday, June 30, Dye received notice that
she had five business days (excluding Monday, July 4) to either resign her position on the school board or, if she does not resign, to have a referendum on her recall placed on the November general election ballot.
It remains to be seen whether Dye will resign or will be ousted. But, whichever happens, it seems like Cedar Grove parents are going to get what they want eventually.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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