🔴 The three school boards risk a lawsuit from state Attorney General Matt Platkin

🔴 Parents and students for and against the changes speak at meetings

🔴 Gov. Phil Murphy said he is "offended" to his core by the policy changes

The school boards in three Monmouth County districts on Tuesday voted to change their transgender policies and defy state rules in order to inform parents about decisions made by their children at school.

Under current state guidance, a student can change their gender identity but the school is not required to inform parents, who in some cases might disagree with the child.

The Marlboro Board of Education approved a policy described as a "family-centered approach" requiring teachers to notify parents if a student identifies as transgender. The exception would be if telling a parent would endanger a student's health or safety.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights told New Jersey 101.5 they are carefully reviewing the policies enacted Tuesday night.

"The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination flatly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, and we are firmly committed to taking swift action in response to any policy that violates that prohibition," the offices said in a statement.

The state filed a lawsuit against the Hanover school district when it changed its policy. The board later approved a reworded policy that removed any reference to gender. Instead, parental notification is required, after consulting with administrators, "when there is an observation and/or indicia of an adverse impact on the student’s physical and/or mental health, safety and or social/emotional well-being."

The state has not dropped its lawsuit despite the change.

Protesters inside Marlboro's Board of Education meeting 6/20/23
Protesters inside Marlboro's Board of Education meeting 6/20/23 (CBS New York via YouTube)


"Because Marlboro Public School District is a Pre-K-9 district with no high school, the Board believes that greater parental involvement is required because of the age and maturity level of its student-body," the latest policy says.

Over 40 people spoke for and against the policy during two public comment sessions.

"What you're proposing to do would rob trans and queer youth of such a vital part of their experiences as trans and queer individuals. What we're proposing to do could quite literally kill them and that is not an exaggeration," Lauren Palea said.

Ashley McCormack said she is a parent and a supporter of the LBGTQ community but her children are hers, not the school district's.

"If the district knows that my child needs some kind of support when it comes to identity gender and they're not getting it because I'm not aware of it and they kill themselves, blood is on your hands, too," McCormack said. "It's 2023. Trust parents to support their children. They're my children. I won't tell anybody what to do with their kids ever just as the district should not."

Marlboro Board of Education attorney Marc Zitomer told New Jersey 101.5 the new policy would withstand legal challenge from the state.

"While we hope not to become embroiled in litigation with the state over our decision to involve parents in important issues affecting their minor children, we are confident that our policy revisions will withstand any potential legal challenges that are mounted against us," Zitomer said in an email.


With several hundred protesters chanting "let us in" outside the building, the Middletown Board of Education also approved a "student-centered approach" policy.

The protesters were so loud to the point that speakers could not be clearly heard during the public comment period.

"I would like to continue to know that the district I have just graduated from will do its best for future trans students. But this policy makes me feel otherwise," said a resident named Curtis who said he began his transition at age 13. "By outing students to their families you are doing them a huge disservice for their emotional, mental and physical well-being."

A parent named Anthony who has four young boys told the board he supported the policy change and believed parents are an important part of a child's life.

"I'm sorry that some of you feel that you can't tell your parents what's going on in your lives. That's a terrible thing. I have four boys and if one of them was thinking of becoming a girl I would want to know so I could support them. They're telling a teacher in school, I would hope that teacher would contact me and say 'here's what's going on with your kid.' Not so I could abuse but for any other reason I could help them."

The policy would require the district to accept a student's "asserted gender identity" without parental approval.

"However, in the event a student requests a public social transition accommodation,
such as public name/identity/pronoun change, bathroom/locker room accommodation, or club/sports accommodations, or the like, the school district shall notify a student’s parents or guardian of the student’s asserted gender identity and/or name change, or other requested accommodation, provided there is no documented evidence that doing so would subject the student to physical or emotional harm or abuse," according to the policy.

Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School
Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School (Google Street View)


The Manalapan-Englishtown District also approved a policy change by a 9-0 vote.

Similar to Middletown's policy, a parent would be notified if a student requested change in their pronoun or bathroom and locker room accommodations.

Gov. Phil Murphy, during his “Ask Governor Murphy” program Tuesday night on WNYC, said he was aware of the pending change and promised his administration will be “vigilant to the max in fighting back” against such policies.

When told by a caller about the vote in his home of Middletown, Murphy said he was "offended."

"I don't like it, I don't think this is where we are as a state. We're living in this us versus moment in our country. Invariably, communities like the trans community are the big losers. They're the ones that get singled out, they're the ones that get behind the eight ball and it just offends me at the core," Murphy said.

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