New Jersey transgender and other students who don’t conform to their birth sex must be allowed to use restrooms of their choice and called by preferred names and pronouns, according to new rules from the state’s education department.
Teachers and other public-school staff in all 678 districts are to treat such individuals as they wish, without parental permission, even if they are minors. Each of 2,516 elementary and secondary schools also were directed to develop anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who took office in January, campaigned on strengthening protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender New Jerseyans.
U.S. federal courts lately have been siding with such students in civil-rights cases. A judge in Oregon in July upheld a district’s policy allowing a transgender student to use the boys’ restrooms, locker rooms and showers, over claims by some parents and fellow students that the practice made others fearful and embarrassed. A Virginia school board in June said it would appeal a landmark federal ruling opening a girls’ bathroom to a student who was born male.