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AG pushes back against Hanover school policy regarding students’ sexual orientation, gender identity

The Hanover Township School District on Tuesday passed Board Policy 8463, known as “Parental Notice of Material Circumstances.”

Matt Trapani

May 18, 2023, 12:25 AM

Updated 398 days ago


New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin is pushing back against a New Jersey school district that has a new policy regarding its students.
The Hanover Township School District on Tuesday passed Board Policy 8463, known as “Parental Notice of Material Circumstances.”
Platkin claims new the policy requires staff to notify parents of the gender identity and sexual orientation of students.
He filed a civil rights complaint looking to prevent the policy from going into effect. Platkin claims the policy could lead to safety and mental health concerns.
“We will always stand up for the LGBTQ+ community here in New Jersey and look forward to presenting our arguments in court in this matter,” Platkin wrote in a statement. “We are extremely proud of the contributions LGBTQ+ students make to our classrooms and our communities, and we remain committed to protecting them from discrimination in our schools.”
But school officials say that Platkin is wrong in his assertion.
They say that the new policy simply “requires school staff members to notify appropriate school administrators and a student’s parents whenever the staff member is made aware of any facts or circumstances that may have a material impact on a student’s physical and/or mental health.”
Officials say that these circumstances could range from the use of alcohol or tobacco, depression, self-harm or “preoccupation with anti-social music.”
“Simply put, Board Policy 8463 merely requires that staff members ‘say something to the parents and appropriate school administrators’ if they ‘see something that could adversely affect the social/emotional well-being of a child,’” officials wrote in a statement.
The policy does also mention sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.
“The Hanover Township Board of Education believes that parents need to be fully informed of all material issues that could impact their children…The Board will vigorously defend this common-sense policy that protects parents' rights and ensure the safety of all school children,” officials wrote.
Platkin says that the complaint he filed “does not challenge other aspects of the policy that on their face do not violate the Law Against Discrimination, such as the requirements for parental notification related to ‘substance use,’ ‘alcohol use,’ ‘firearms,’ or ‘unlawful activity.’”
Gov. Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter that he supports Platkin challenging the new policy.

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