The Toms River Board of Education has decided to table a vote to approve a policy allowing transgender students to choose which bathrooms and locker rooms to use in district schools.

School board members had planned to adopt the policy, which was drafted in December, but their plans were put on hold when parents and religious leaders in Toms River began to voice opposition to the plan, according to the Asbury Park Press. Tammi Millar, a spokeswoman for the Toms River district, told the publication that the board will further discuss the policy before taking a vote.

Last month Shawn Hyland, a graduate of the Toms River School District and founder of Move the Earth Ministries, started an online petition on that opposes the proposed policy. Hyland said he wrote a letter to the district after several parents told him they felt uncomfortable with a provision in the policy that would students, based on their individual needs, to access bathroom and locker rooms of the opposite sex.

"Each student deserves a nondiscriminatory learning environment. However, transgender polices that specifically mandate shared bathroom and locker rooms, undermine common sense and potentially violate the long held Sexual Harassment Policy #5751. Forced unwelcomed exposure from the opposite sex will create a sexually hostile learning environment," Hyland wrote in a letter to John Coleman, assistant superintendent of schools. The letter was posted on the petition.

The goal of the petition is 800 signatures. As of Sunday evening, 88 more signatures were needed to achieve that goal.

Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.