Parents of NJ transgender kids need rights too (Opinion)
New guidelines on protections for transgender students in New Jersey public schools have been clarified and solidified recently. I agree they need respect and have rights. However, so do parents.
One part of the new policy I have an issue with is this business about keeping a child's transgender identity a total secret from the parents. All public schools now must follow this rule. If a student at any grade level comes to school saying they identify as the opposite gender, the school must allow them to be called whatever name they choose, and always refer to them by the proper pronoun to reflect their new gender. This is in addition to using the bathroom and locker room of their identified gender. They must be allowed to dress as the gender they feel to be.
All of this is new territory, difficult for some to get our minds around, but ultimately I approve of the changes. What I have a major problem with is part of the new policy that says if a student is transgender but only at school, their secret must be kept from their parents.
What a slap in the face to mothers and fathers everywhere. And what a tremendous burden to put on the shoulders of teachers.
Look, I get where it's coming from. Some kids live in fear they won't be accepted at home. Possibly hit, or thrown out. I get that. However just like girls hiding teenage pregnancy or a number of other secrets, parents can often be feared by children when unnecessary. Extreme awkwardness can be overblown into outright terror in the mind of a young person. Sometimes it will be justified. There will always be a parent who is incapable of challenging their own conventions and who may disown a child. Many times though a painful and uncomfortable situation can be made better by bringing it out in the open. Parents should be given some credit for actually loving their kids.
Certainly they should be given some respect.
At a time when we have legislation to screen all children for depression and report back to mom and dad if they are flagged, at a time when we have more schools wanting to drug test our children and allow parents to take action with the results, this is contrary to those positions. If a child is going through something so potentially traumatic and life-changing as living as the opposite gender, to purposely exclude the parents from any knowledge is in my opinion the public schools completely hijacking parental control.
Imagine the pressure on teachers of having to think of the transgender child's new name and new pronoun every single time they are addressed or talked about in class, or with other teachers or to administration, yet when having to call home about a missed assignment they suddenly have to switch and refer to them with old pronouns and names. One slip and a teacher could be in trouble. All because we have a school system not trusting the parents to be parents.
We already have a law that says if a parent strikes a child and the school has knowledge of it the school must report the parent to authorities. And if a child's parents are so mortified by the transgender news that they are thrown out of the house those same teachers can offer the child help. So why do we need such secrets kept from parents? Am I the only one who finds this utterly insulting?
For years we have had public schools assuming more and more control of raising our kids with 'character education' and all the rest. This will be such a leap forward in schools becoming replacement parents that everyone ought to protest this one provision.
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