The dueling briefs were just the latest skirmish in the state’s fight against parental notification policies, which several school boards around the state have adopted or considered in the past year. (Getty Images)
After the state sued Hanover Township schools in May to stop a new policy that critics say outs gay and transgender students, the school board voted this month to repeal a separate policy that protected them.
Now district officials are asking a judge to make Attorney General Matt Platkin — who filed a motion to reverse that repeal — back off, saying the earlier protections were voluntarily adopted based on guidance from state education officials. Plenty of school districts never adopted policies based on that guidance, so Hanover shouldn’t be forced to cling to a policy the state never mandated, Hanover’s attorney Matthew J. Giacobbe argued in a brief filed Thursday.
“This motion is a frivolous abuse of the rule as well as a waste of judicial resources,” Giacobbe wrote.
The dueling briefs were just the latest skirmish in the state’s fight against parental notification policies, which several school boards around the state have adopted or considered in the past year.
Critics say these policies can endanger students with unsupportive families and violate the state’s law against discrimination, which specifically protects gay and transgender people. Parental notification defenders argue parents deserve to know about anything impacting their child’s mental health, and the state’s lawsuits to stop such policies are governmental overreach.
Platkin sued Hanover to stop a policy the school board passed in May requiring educators to tell parents about any change in a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation, and a judge issued temporary restraining orders that require Hanover to “maintain the status quo” that existed before the policy until Platkin’s court challenge is resolved.
But the school board voted Sept. 11 to repeal a separate policy it had adopted in March 2019 that provided protections for transgender students. They reaffirmed the repeal at their Sept. 26 meeting.
Platkin argued those votes violated the judge’s order to maintain the status quo, while Giacobbe countered that the judge’s temporary restraining orders applied only to the new parental notification policy and not the 2019 policy.
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