Transgender issues clarified for school administrators
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Education issued guidance to affirm the rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students in public schools. The new guidance will affirm that students, under state and federal law will have the right to use restrooms and other facilities such as locker rooms that correspond with their gender equality.
The guidelines state: school administrators, teachers, and staff must use a student’s chosen name and pronouns in all communication. Schools must take a student-centered approach where gender identity determination lies with the student. Parental consent is not required to re-affirm a student’s identity. Students must be allowed to participate in intramural and interscholastic sports that correspond with their gender identity.
“As a transgender student, I’ve been really lucky to have my school’s support,” said Sussex County sixth grader Rebekah Bruesehoff in a statement. “It means I can focus on my classes, my friends, and playing field hockey. I know other trans kids aren’t so lucky. These guidelines change that. As a transgender student and an activist, it makes a huge difference to know that the New Jersey Department of Education and Garden State Equality have our backs and are working to make schools safer for kids like me.”
Garden State Equality helped get the legislation put through, working with the Department of Education as well as Senators Teresa Ruiz and Joe Vitale, Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joann Downey, Mila Jasey, and Benjie Wimberly, former Assembly members Tim Eustace, Reed Gusciora, and Marlene Caride.