Middletown School District considers policy to tell parents about changes to child’s gender identity

The school board is moving forward with a policy that some say will essentially out students to their parents if certain accommodations are required.

Matt Trapani and Joti Rekhi

Jun 21, 2023, 9:35 PM

Updated 358 days ago

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Some people are saying that the lives of LGBTQ+ students could be at risk if a new policy proposed for the Middletown School District is implemented.
The school board is moving forward with a policy that some say will essentially out students to their parents if certain accommodations are required. It is a policy that the school board has been considering for some time – one that is now updated on the district’s website.
The policy now states that if a student needs social transition accommodations like a pronoun, name or identity change, then the district is required to identify parents. Parents will also be notified if a student asks for accommodations relating to bathrooms, locker rooms, sports or clubs.
School board members say the policy will facilitate healthy communication between transgender students and their families.
But opponents say it’s not the school’s job to get involved. They say that a student’s gender identity and expression are confidential. The concern led to a contentious school board meeting Tuesday night.
School board members say that the new policy also looks into instances where a parent may disagree with their child’s decision to use a name or gender that wasn’t given to them at birth on school records. The superintendent would consult the board attorney in those cases.
Staff will still continue to refer to the student by their chosen names and or pronouns. They may consider providing counseling and support outside of school.
Some LGBTQ+ advocates say that this isn’t the right approach.
“If you’re a parent and you want to know if your child is LGBTQ because you want to support them, then work on creating a safe environment at home where they feel comfortable coming out to you. It’s not the school’s job to tell you if your child’s LGBTQ. It’s your job to make sure that they feel comfortable coming out to you at home. And when they do, they will. Because they will seek your love and acceptance,” says Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality.
The Hanover Township Board of Education recently made a similar policy decision but changed it when the state attorney general filed a civil rights complaint.
News 12 has reached out to the state Office of the Attorney General to see if they are going to file a similar complaint against Middletown but did not hear back.
A final reading of the Middletown policy will occur at the next meeting on July 18.


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