🔺 NJ schools must segregate sex-ed classes based on gender identity

🔺 Rules approved allowing trans girls to compete on boys sports teams

🔺 Schools face stiff sanctions if they do not comply with the new rules

The New Jersey Board of Education has approved controversial changes to sex education and gender identity rules all state school districts must follow.

Under the new rules, schools that separate students for sex-ed classes must do so based on gender identity, and not biological gender. Schools may have separate classes for boys and girls but are not required to do so.

The board also approved rules that will allow participation in certain school sports based on gender identity and not biological gender.

Members of the New Jersey State Board of Education meet to vote on new sex-education and transgender school policy. (YouTube screenshot)
Members of the New Jersey State Board of Education meet to vote on new sex-education and transgender school policy.
(YouTube screenshot)

As state police provided security and a group of concerned citizens held a prayer circle, board members retreated into an extended executive session to debate the controversial changes to the policy known as "Managing for Equality and Equity in Education."

It was clear as the board returned to public session that there was intense debate in the face of strong opposition from parent groups and Republican lawmakers.

After a final vote was taken, the rules were narrowly approved 6-5. Members of the public that were in attendance were visibly upset at the result of the vote.

New Jersey state Senators Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, and Michael Testa, R-Cumberland, warned the State Board of Education "is focused more on advancing identity politics than building stronger relationships between parents and teachers."

attachment-NJ Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris)

"Students are falling behind from pandemic-related learning loss and instead of prioritizing reading, writing, and math, the State Board is infusing progressive identity politics into the classroom," Bucco said in a statement.

Supporters of the measure claimed the new rules would provide and safe and inclusive environment for all students.

Pertaining to segregated sex-ed classes, there were concerns that biological separation would force some students to come out as trans when they preferred to remain private.

What if schools don't follow the new rules?

There have been a handful of school districts that have pushed back on Gov. Phil Murphy's administration and the state's progressive policies on transgender students and gender identity.

State School Board members approved a provision that could cost noncompliant districts school aid.

attachment-Oroho sex ed quote

There is a provision in the new policy that could allow the Murphy administration to withhold both state and federal school aid if a school district does not adopt policies in alignment with state rules within 180 days.

What comes next?

For now, schools must demonstrate they are in compliance with the new rules or risk sanctions from the New Jersey Department of Education.

It is likely that the matter could end up in court. A number of members of parent groups in attendance at the meeting promised legal action.

Testa, meanwhile, has sponsored the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” (S-589), which would prohibit students from participating in school sports based on gender identity. Testa says schools should not allow "boys to compete in women’s sports."

The legislation has virtually no chance of advancing in the Democratic controlled Legislature and has not been scheduled for a hearing.

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