New Jersey dad sues state, district over policy keeping schools from outing transgender students
A New Jersey father filed a federal lawsuit to block a state policy aimed at keeping schools from outing transgender students to their parents.
Frederick Short Jr., whose three children attend Cherry Hill High School, filed the suit Oct. 12 in U.S. District court. He argues that the policy violates his constitutional right to raise his children and make decisions about their mental health care.
“I would feel pretty bad for a parent if their child lived a double life,” Short told NJ.com. “Everyone always says parents would be mad at the kid or beat up the kid, but I’d be so mad at the school, that the school hid it.”
The state attorney general’s office and the Education Department declined comment on the suit. Cherry Hill school officials have not responded to a request for comment.
The suit challenges guidance issued by the Education Department, which does not mandate that school staff notify parents of their child’s gender identification. The lawsuit argues such policies “provide for secrecy and the facilitation of double-lives (and) are psychologically unhealthy for youth.”
The guidance also notes that schools should keep separate files with different names for trans students and notify parents only when required by law or — in some cases — involving bullying.
At least five districts have rescinded policies based on the guidance, and four others have passed policies that require parental notification. The attorney general’s office has sued the latter districts, so their policies have not been implemented.