In March of 2017 the Egg Harbor Township School Board voted down a transgender student policy. Tuesday night the School Board introduced a new policy which was approved on its first reading. The policy will be up for a final vote at the November Egg Harbor Township School Board meeting.
The new policy dictates that the School District shall accept a student’s gender identity and parental consent is not required. A student does not need to meet any threshold diagnosis or treatment requirement to have his or her gender identity recognized by the school district or school staff and a legal name change is not required. The policy states “There is no affirmative duty for any school district staff member to notify a student’s parents of the student’s gender identity or expression”. The policy continues “There may be instances where a parent of a minor student disagrees with the student regarding the name and pronoun to be used at school and in the student’s education records. In the event a parent objects to the minor student’s name change request, the Superintendent or designee should consult the Board Attorney regarding the minor student’s civil rights and protections” and “school staff members should continue to refer to the student in accordance with the student’s chosen name and pronoun at school”.
This is an outrageous overstep by the Egg Harbor Township School Board. Many believe that a boy who thinks he’s a girl or a girl who thinks she’s a boy is facing a mental health crisis. The parents of these minor children have a right to get their children the mental health treatment they need. By adopting this policy the Egg Harbor Township School Board is enabling the crisis these children are facing rather than assisting parents in helping their children.
“If a student has expressed a preference to be called by a name other than their birth name permanent student records containing the student’s birth name should be kept in a separate confidential file” the policy continues.
“With respect to gender-segregated classes or athletic activities, including intramural and interscholastic athletics, all students must be allowed to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity. The school district shall provide transgender students with the same opportunities to participate in physical education as other students in accordance with their gender identity”
While going out of its way to accommodate students facing a mental health crisis rather than get them the help that they need the Egg Harbor Township School Board is hurting female students who participate in sports and their families. Many of these female student athletes hope for college scholarships. We have seen time and time again male students who “identify” as female excel at female designated high school sports. Allowing male students to participate in female sports the Egg Harbor Township School Board is decreasing opportunities for families who may not have the financial means to send their daughters to college.
In addressing restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities the policy states “the School District shall allow a transgender student to use a restroom or locker room based on the student’s gender identity”.
If I were the parent of an Egg Harbor Township School District student I would remove my child from the district should this policy pass Board approval. Children should not be forced to change or use restroom facilities in front of other children of the opposite sex. The Board says it’s policy is to “help school and district administrators take steps to create an inclusive environment in which transgender and gender nonconforming students feel safe and supported”. Why is it that the comfort and safety of these students is more important to the Egg Harbor Township School Board than the comfort and safety of your child?
The Board will vote on the policy at its next board meeting on Tuesday November 26, 2019 in the boardroom at Alder Avenue Middle School, 13 Swift Drive, Egg Harbor Township. We need to pack that room and have our voices heard. While most of us do not live in Egg Harbor Township this needs to stop now before your school district approves a similar policy!
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