On Tuesday November 26th, The Egg Harbor Township Board of Education voted on a transgender kids protection policy which passed with a margin of 6-3. This has been a fight in the township going on for almost 3 years. Supporters of a policy include LGBTQ adults, parents, and kids as well as community allies. The board considered this policy 2 years ago, but it failed to meet the vote threshold. That hasn’t stopped supporters from trying to get EHT in line with the state guidelines. A new and updated version of the policy was presented at the regular school board meeting in October.
Opponents of the policy primarily come from the New Life Assembly of God in Egg Harbor Township. Their Reverend organized his community to oppose this policy, despite similar policies passing in other local towns and throughout the state.
It wasn’t all smiles and cheers on the supporter side despite the policy victory. Last week the proposed policy was amended to include language ranging from vague to explicitly dangerous. The main objection of supporters who spoke last night was the inclusion of an amendment allowing the school to “out” trans children to their parents at the discretion of the administration. The opponents of the policy proved the point of these speakers by spewing vile hate rhetoric during their comments which ranged from calling trans kids “abominations” to comparing them to predators and even pedophiles. Supporters of a true comprehensive policy cited the high percentage of homeless kids that are homeless because their parents refusal to accept their sexuality or gender identity.
Other problematic language in the revision was changing statements from “will” or “must” to softer language like “may” or “on a case by case basis”. This opens the district up to individual biases of those making the decisions, and allows administration to choose not to act on the policy. This essentially makes the policy unenforceable.
Supporters plan to continue to fight to get this policy amended in the future to remove the objectionable language.