🔵 NJ has a policy, not a mandate, regarding the transgender status of students

🔵 Most NJ adults appear to be on board with the state, when safety is a factor

🔵 Poll shows most NJ adults are aware of obstacles faced by trans youth

If doing so could cause issues for the student at home, teachers in New Jersey should not share a student's transgender identity with their parents, according to the newest Rutgers-Eagleton poll.

In the survey of more than 1,600 New Jersey adults, 55% said teachers shouldn't feel the need to inform a student's parents if the student doesn't feel safe coming out as transgender at home.

And 54% say a teacher shouldn't be required by law to make such a notification to parents.

"About three in 10 in either case, no matter how the question is worded, say that the teacher should tell the parents, and about 15% are unsure what should be done," said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

New Jersey's transgender student guidance

According to the poll, most New Jersey adults side with the state's transgender student guidance, which says that it's not on school personnel to notify a parent or guardian of a student's gender identity or expression. Select school districts in New Jersey have rejected the state's policy, and New Jersey in 2023 sued districts for doing so.

With the exception of Republicans, pluralities of every demographic believe that teachers should keep a student's transgender identity confidential, Koning said.

"Statistics paint a clear picture of the ramifications of potentially outing a student to their family when they may come from an unsafe home," Koning said. "National data shows us trans and nonbinary youth report feeling affirmed more frequently at school than home."

Garden State Equality, a group that advocates for LGBTQ+ individuals and communities, noted that queer or questioning and transgender youth face high rates of family rejection and abandonment.

“We believe parents should know if their child identifies as LGBTQ+, but research shows time and again that if a young person is not telling their family, there is a reason,” said Lauren Albrecht, director of advocacy and organizing for Garden State Equality.

“This poll from the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling shows New Jerseyans understand and agree with the need for policies which protect the confidentiality — and therefore safety — of transgender and nonbinary youth.”

Nothing in the state's guidance, Garden State Equality said, prohibits school personnel from disclosing a transgender student’s identity from their family if the student permits it.

In a Monmouth University poll released in August, 77% of adults (and 81% of parents) said that middle and high schools should be required to notify parents if their child wants to be identified as a different gender. That poll did not specifically mention safety at home.

In the Rutgers-Eagleton poll, which surveyed residents in December, 48% of respondents said they either know someone who is transgender or identify as transgender themselves.

Seven in 10 adults said they believe transgender children "frequently" or "occasionally" experience disapproval from their parents, and three-quarters believe these children are "frequently" or "occasionally" bullied by others.

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