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NJ Election Expected to Bring More Division over Trans Kids’ Identities


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Ahead of the New Jersey school board election, battles are still raging in several New Jersey schools over policies that would disclose transgender students’ identities to their parents, according to Gothamist. Leaders of one of the state’s largest “parents’ rights” groups say they’ve got the momentum on their side. But a progressive organization formed last year to combat what it calls “MAGA extremists” on matters of school policy, including protecting trans kids from being outed to their families, says gains by parents’ rights candidates are far more modest than many political observers expected. Leaders of both groups agree on two things: More New Jersey school districts will likely craft new rules about how to treat transgender students, replacing versions based on state guidance that say trans kids’ identities should be respected, and should only be revealed to families under limited circumstances.


“It’s a win for us if [parents’ rights candidates] won and it’s a win for us if they lost – because they’re angry now and ready to take it to the next level,” said Nikki Stouffer, executive director of the NJ Project, part of a conservative movement that argues too many state regulations and local school board policies shut parents out of their children’s lives.NJ Project grew out of a Facebook group where parents railed against remote learning and student mask mandates during the pandemic, and against sex education guidelines members said exposed young children to too much explicit information. Stouffer expects battles to heat up. She cited wins for NJ Project-favored candidates in dozens of local school board races, including Colts Neck, one of the districts that repealed its existing trans-inclusion policy in September, and Old Bridge, where school officials are considering doing the same. New Jersey school elections are nonpartisan, and there’s no authoritative statewide breakdown of parents’ rights or progressive school board candidates. But Stouffer said it appears between 60% and 70% of the more than 450 candidates NJ Project described on its website as “pro-parent, pro-child” won their races.

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