New Jersey Files Civil Rights Complaints to Halt Implementation of LGBTQ+ Parental Notification Policies


Attorney General Platkin and DCR Seek to Prevent Violation of New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced the filing of complaints by the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) challenging the implementation of allegedly unlawful policies enacted by the Middletown Township, Marlboro Township, and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Boards of Education. 

These policies, which require school staff to disclose the gender identity of transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary students, are in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). 

Attorney General Platkin and the DCR have also filed emergency motions in Superior Court, seeking preliminary injunctions and temporary restraints to prevent the policies from being enforced while the challenges are pending.

The complaints and motions argue that the policies specifically target transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary students, subjecting them to differential treatment by mandating parental notification solely for these students, while their peers are not subjected to the same requirement. 

The complaints further assert that the parental notification policies disproportionately harm transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary youth by potentially jeopardizing their safety and mental well-being. 

The policies also disregard and contradict guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education regarding the confidentiality and privacy of such information.

Attorney General Platkin emphasized the potential harm these discriminatory policies pose to children, stating, "The discriminatory policies passed by these Boards of Education, if allowed to go into effect, will harm our kids and pose severe risk to their safety." 

Attorney General Platkin affirmed the state's commitment to protecting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly children, from discrimination.

In addition to the administrative complaints, the DCR has requested temporary restraints and preliminary injunctions from the Superior Court to prevent the implementation of these policies while the administrative complaints are being resolved.

Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights, expressed the agency's dedication to upholding equality and enforcing protections against discrimination, emphasizing that school policies targeting LGBTQ+ youth contradict the state's commitment to equality.

The policies challenged were all enacted on June 20, 2023

The Marlboro Board of Education's policy requires parental notification of any student's change in gender identity or expression, and it eliminates the requirement to address students by their preferred name and pronouns. 

The Middletown Board of Education's policy mandates parental notification when a student requests a public social transition accommodation. 

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Board of Education's policy places the responsibility for determining a student's gender identity with the parents/guardians, specifically for students in grades Pre-K through 5.

These enforcement actions follow a previous civil rights complaint filed by Attorney General Platkin and the DCR challenging a Hanover Township Board of Education policy. 

The Hanover Township policy required school staff to disclose LGBTQ+ students' information to their parents. While the litigation regarding that policy is still ongoing, the Superior Court has temporarily restrained the Hanover Township Board of Education from enforcing the policy while it considers the matter.

The Division on Civil Rights is the state agency responsible for preventing and addressing discrimination and bias-based harassment in various areas, including employment, housing, and public accommodations. The agency enforces the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the Fair Chance in Housing Act.

The case was handled by Deputy Attorneys General Jonathan Mangel, Loren Miller, Douglas Praschak, and Daniel Resler, under the supervision of Assistant Attorneys General Mayur Saxena and Sara Gregory, Section Chief James Michael, Interim Senior Advisors for Affirmative Enforcement Iris Bromberg and Danielle Thorne, and Associate Director for Affirmative Enforcement Malcolm Peyton-Cook and Chief Advisor to the Director Aarin Williams.

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