Recent transgender policy guidance from Governor Phil Murphy in New Jersey takes an unconstitutional approach to dealing with students who are seeking to change their gender. The direction prevents teachers and schools from sharing any gender-related issues with parents of students who are looking to change their gender. 

Parents are the ones who should be making choices about ways to best support their children because the family is the fundamental unit of society. Healthy families are only possible when communication is paramount between the different members of the family. If students and children are encouraged to keep gender-related issues away from parents, they are encouraging them to lie and not be truthful about the activities they are engaging in. 

“It is our position that keeping parents in the dark about important issues involving their children is counterintuitive and contrary to well-established U.S. Supreme Court case law that says that parents have a constitutional right to direct and control the upbringing of their children,” said Marc Zitomer.

As Murphy continues to encourage schools to keep transgender issues from their parents, he is directly harming students because parents are not in a position to be able to make decisions about their child’s health. The guidance encourages the separation and disruption of the family in direct opposition to court guidance. 

“The United States Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court have held that parents have a fundamental constitutional right to raise their children. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972),” according to the Tormey Law Firm LLC

Due process is being completely rejected under Murphy’s guidance as he tries to refuse parental access to medical decisions involving their children. Cases at the supreme court have continually emphasized parental rights in regard to health issues:  “The Court emphasized that its ‘jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children.’The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making difficult decisions. Thus, the Court concluded that parents can and must make judgments about children’s need for medical care and treatment.” 

While the guidance references students’ well-being, nothing within the entire document provides support for those who feel uncomfortable with a transgender person being in their classroom, bathroom, or other gendered spaces. The guidance expects students to go along with everything that their classmates decide outside of the guidance of their parents. No mention is made of emotional support or counseling for students who have struggled with opposite-gender violence. Students who have already suffered sexually-based violence are those that really suffer under these new rules. 

“When it comes to facing these tough issues, it is better for local school boards, teachers, and parents to come together to find a solution that fits their community,” said Steve Dnistrian. “But always with parents as part of that discussion. Democrats, however, are insisting that parents not be part of the discussion if kids express questions about being LGBTQ. These heavy-handed, one-sided mandates from Trenton are just wrong.”

Inclusive environments in NJ are often centered around members of the LGBT community but fail to recognize and include various religious and political viewpoints. The transgender issue is just one example of how NJ shows that inclusivity is not really about including everyone.

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