EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The school board will take a final vote Tuesday evening on a policy regarding transgender students that has proved controversial in the township.
The policy, which was approved on first reading in October, was amended to take into consideration some concerns by residents and board members presented at the previous meeting. The amendments were presented at a workshop meeting last week.
The proposal includes the elimination of language stating that “the school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required,” a sticking point for residents at last month’s meeting.
The policy now states that the superintendent or designee “shall ensure that students with gender identity or expression concerns and their parents/guardians shall be given the opportunity to discuss these issues and participate in the educational planning and programming for their students.”
“However, based on the age, grade, maturity, and other factors relating to the student, the superintendent or designee may notify parents/guardians about the student’s asserted gender identity or expression; prior to any staff member calling or referring to the student by a name other than their birth name or derivative,” the policy reads. “Students who do not want their parents/guardians to know about their transgender status shall be addressed on a case-by-case basis.”
The policy changes the language regarding access to facilities to make clear that any student who is uncomfortable using a sex-segregated restroom or locker room will be provided with an alternative.
“A transgender student shall not be required to use a locker room or restroom that conflicts with the student’s gender identity or expression consistently asserted at school,” the policy also states.
The policy does not address concerns presented by residents about gender identity and school sports except to state that “all students will be allowed to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity and consistent with New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association NJSIAA by-laws.”
The meeting takes place 7 p.m. at the Alder Avenue Middle School.