Hanover Tries to Tiptoe through Political Minefield

HANOVER – A policy that critics said required teachers and staff to “out” gay students has been revised, but the firestorm it ignited is still raging.

A state Attorney General’s suit to overturn the original policy remains pending and the issue clearly is dividing the community.

Supporters at Tuesday’s school board meeting defended the board for backing parents’ rights and fighting the “indoctrination” of students.

Opponents said the township’s reputation as a welcoming community has been tarnished and that paying legal costs to defend the policy is a poor use of district funds.

None of this is unique to this town of 14,600 in eastern Morris County.

The so-called culture wars are in full swing throughout the state as town councils and school boards clash over displaying Pride flags, what books students can read, and even how racism is taught in schools.

Last month, the Hanover school board adopted a policy requiring parents to be notified if teachers and staff became aware of a lengthy list of conditions, including a student’s “sexual orientation, transitioning, gender identity or expression.”

Matt Platkin, the state AG, quickly went to court, calling the policy discriminatory. An injunction temporarily putting the policy on hold was secured until a hearing on May 30.

At that hearing in state Superior Court, Morristown, Judge Stuart Minkowitz didn’t seem impressed with the new policy, more than once suggesting that it treated individuals in a protected class unfairly.

Rather than make a decision that day, the judge urged both sides to reach a sort of detente, or in other words, create a policy that was acceptable to the Attorney General’s office.

The board endeavored to do just that and approved a revised policy on Tuesday with two abstentions, but no “no” votes.

Compared to the original, this is a rather benign document.

It requires school staff to notify parents if students exhibit behaviors that “may have an adverse impact” on their health, safety or well-being. But it specifically states that such notification can not “be based solely on a student’s actual and/or perceived protected characteristics” under state anti-discrimination laws. There is no mention of sexuality or gender.

Will this satisfy the AG?

Matthew Giacobbe, the board attorney, said the case will be subject to a mediation session next week.

The toned-down policy was around for a week, but that had no impact on the spirited debate..

Tayfun Selen, a Morris County Commissioner, attended the meeting and condemned the Murphy administration for trying to “strong-arm the district.”

For many Republicans – and Selen just won a contested GOP primary – parental rights and fighting a “woke” school curriculum are signature issues.

More than one critic of the district’s original policy faulted the board for starting a costly legal battle that it was destined to lose.

Every public debate presents nuggets of fascinating info and this one was no exception.

In a nod to some of the aging baby boomers in the crowd, one man brought up the old TV sitcom, Father Knows Best, to make the point that parents should always be kept informed about their kids.

Nice history, but how many LGBT characters were there on Father Knows Best?

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14 responses to “Hanover Tries to Tiptoe through Political Minefield”

  1. Hanover has to give up. Legal cost alone will make litigating impossible. Liberals know this. This is the strategy.

  2. It is not a iberal strategy to clean out the coffers of a school district. It is a discriminatory strategy to have insituted this in the first place. Give it up Hanover.

  3. It is not discrimination to be aware of what is happening in our schools. Certainly parents have the right to know if their child is undergoing transition. To think otherwise is just sick and perverted.

  4. You need to stop referring to them as liberals. Leftists, Marxists, Bolsheviks…yes. They’re not liberals.

  5. The Hanover Township School Board apparently doesn’t understand something: they are answerable to the state of New Jersey.

    And when the Board was told to change their policy requiring teachers and administrators to notify parents if their child was LGBTQ+, and even after an injunction preventing them from enforcing the policy was served, what did they do?

    They told the state to go to hell.
    They “revised” their policy to remove language about gender identity, but they did so in a way that Attorney General Matthew Platkin believes does not change anything at all. That’s because the Hanover BOE, while removing and reference to a student’s gender or sexuality from their policy, sneakily inserted language requiring school staff to notify parents if students exhibit behaviors that “may have an adverse impact” on their health, safety or well-being.

    It should be noted that three recently elected members of the BOE–Christine Egbert, Gina Johnston and Gregory Skiff–were supported by the bigot from Medford, Nicole Stouffer, as well as the domestic terrorist group “Moms for Liberty”, and apparently openly ignored the statements of parents opposed to the policy at a recent meeting.

    And while the policy does state that notification can not “be based solely on a student’s actual and/or perceived protected characteristics” (such as gender identity, use of pronouns, etc.) that leaves open the possibilities of schools using another pretext to outing a student by creating an alternate reason to notify a parent. (For example, think about a policeman stopping a motorist for a broken tail light and then deciding he smells cannibis inside the car as a means to conduct a search).

    It’s this ambiguity, and the ability of the Hanover BOE to circumvent not only a directive from the Attorney General but a court injunction as well, that is what is prolonging this controversy. Indeed, school board attorney Matt Giacobbe decreed that the new policy is “in effect”, clearly thumbing his nose at state officials. Obviously another lawyer who believes the rule of law is what HE says it is. Apparently Giacobbe wants to escalate this to the state Supreme Court, possibly to make a name for himself. Well, using children and bigoted, illegal policies is a poor way to do so.

    And finally, the bigots keep framing this as a “parental rights” issue. That’s a false flag, as there is nothing in either the United States or New Jersey constitutions granting parents any special rights. However, there are laws protecting the rights of minors from having personal information disclosed against their will–even to their parents.

    If a child wants to “come out” to their parents, it should be THEIR choice and done at a time of their choosing. It is not the place of schools to be the vessel of communication of such a sensitive subject.

    And it’s time Hanover Township and the rest of the bigots understand that.

  6. There is a common law right that parents have custody of their children. Its not in the US Constitution because it was universally accepted that parents have control of their children. The fact that you want to ignore this right and believe the State has the ability to obviate this right is rather scary.

    In the US Constitution, the state is beholden to the people – the people are not beholden to the state.

    That’s why children can’t consent on their own to surgery, getting their ears pierced, tattoos. Schools inform parents about all types of issues and behaviors.

    Singling out a certain class of behaviors as sacrosanct that must be held in confidence from parents because that’s what the ideology of a vocal lobbying group is pushing an agenda anti-thetical to how a school should operate.

    If school administrators believe a child is in danger from their parents, they can call social services.

    Calling something you want a “right” is just a lazy way to concede that the argument you are advocating is weak.

    Bottom line – there should be no boundary to what a school should be able to communicate to parents about the behavior of their minor children.

  7. Once again, Michael Schnackenberg doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He bloviates a lot and calls people “bigots” and other names, when he doesn’t have any grasp of facts. Schnackenberg says there are no laws granting parents special rights, but children have rights to do what they want. This sounds like the “pedophile manifesto”.

    Schnackenberg shouldn’t be talking about things he knows nothing about. The NJ courts, especially the Supreme Court has held that PARENTAL RIGHTS are protected by the 1st, 9th, and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. In the Matter of J.S. & C., 129 N.J. Super. 486, 489-90 (1974) the Court held that “the right of a parent to the companionship and care of his or her child, is a fundamental right protected by the First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Those are “special protections” that parents enjoy. The Constitution and the courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court have held time & again that parental rights is a LIBERTY RIGHT, the HIGHEST FORM OF RIGHTS!!!! The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld these rights since May v.Anderson, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Quilloin v. Walcott, Stanley v. Illinois, Santosky v. Kramer, Troxel v. Granville, et al.

    It is irrational that a court could find both that a parent is fit and that the same parent’s involvement in the child’s upbringing for years would be a detriment to the child to justify curtailing his parental/parenting time rights. The U.S. Supreme Court in Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 652 (1972), recognized that “the State registers no gain towards its declared goals when it separates children from the custody of fit parents”. A parent “who has demonstrated sufficient commitment to his child is thereafter entitled to raise the child free from undue state interference. Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417, 477 (1990). Simply because the parents’ decisions are not agreeable does not automatically transfer from the parent to the state the power to make decisions concerning the child. Id. at 484-485.

    Anything contrary to that is certainly at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court’s strong presumption that “parents act in their child’s best interests. See Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 58 (2000)(citing Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 602 (1979)).

    Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or other parent or, because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state. Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 603 (1979). The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.” Parham,U.S. at 603 .

    Parents and children do not have competing interests, and it is not correct to presume or assume that parents and children are “adversaries.” Santosky, 455 U.S. at 760 (“until the State proves parental unfitness, the child and his parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship”). Our Constitution treats parents as natural allies of their children. Parham, 442 U.S. at 602.
    Our jurisprudence holds a high regard for the family into which a child has been born. Santosky, 455 U.S. at 759, 765-66 (rejecting “balanc[ing]” of the “the child’s interest in a normal family home against the parents’ interest in raising the child,” or consideration of “whether the child would have a better home elsewhere”). Our Constitution assumes that children want to remain with their natural family. Id. at 766.

    The Court has never recognized a separate interest or right that is child-specific, per se; the only recognized right for children in this context is the child’s reciprocal right to maintain his natural family relationship. Parham, 442 U.S. at 603 (not all choices will be “agreeable to a child,” but that “does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from parents to some agency or officer of the state”); Santosky, 455 U.S. at 765.

    To suggest government’s “special interest” in protecting children, or invoking the altruistic language of “best interest,” or simply saying that “children have a right to be free from harm” are legally insufficient criteria for “children’s rights” and elevating the role of the state into the lives of families. See Martin Guggenheim, “What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights”, passim (Harvard University Press 2005). The Santosky Court’s “refusal to consider the rights of the children [was] analytically correct, since such consideration would involve the assumption of unproven facts. The refusal demonstrates the Court’s commitment, as a policy matter, to the autonomy of the family unit.”

    The courts do not see the child in isolation, but as an extension and ward of his parents, not the state. Parham, 442 U.S. at 602-03 (parents are presumed to “act in their child’s best interest”); Pierce, 268 U.S. at 535; Meyer, 262 U.S. at 401. Children are not merely autonomous individuals needing the cacophony of alternate voices (e.g., state social services, guardian ad litems, educators, etc.) contending to speak on their behalf. Yoder, 406 U.S. at 213; Parham, 442 U.S. at 606 (rejecting childhood by committee approach); Guggenheim, “What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights” 95 (e.g., assigning independent counsel for a toddler to advance the child’s so-called interest is a legal fiction, as that grown-up lawyer assigned is merely advancing what that grown-up envisions as best for the child).

    The State and the parent do not stand in equipoise, or have an equal interest in the child. Vivek S. Sankaran, “Parens Patriae Run Amuck: The Child Welfare System’s Disregard for the Rights of Non-Offending Parents”, 82 Temple Law Review 55 (Spring 2009) (showing a historical rejection of broad parens patriae doctrine as case law on parental liberty interest was developed in Meyer, Pierce, Prince, Yoder). “The State’s interest in caring for … children is de minimis if [the parent] is shown to be fit.” Stanley, 405 U.S. at 657-58 (the State “spites its own articulated goals” of child protection when it presumptively and arbitrarily removes children without a due process hearing).

    The State’s parens patriae interest in promoting the welfare of the child is secondary and triggered only where parents have been determined unfit. Santosky, 455 U.S. at 767 n.17; cf. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 16, 30 (1967) (pejoratively describing latin term parens patriae as a rationalization “to exclude juveniles from the constitutional schemes” and invite “procedural arbitrariness”).

    The State has no viable interest in children who are with fit parents.

    Moving on to the medical aspects of forcing LBGTQ programs/grooming and/or transgenderism on to children under the age of 25 years old is physical, psychological, and sexual child abuse. Anyone promoting this needs to be locked away with the most violent inmates in prison.

    Looking at the medical literature, studies, periodicals, peer-reviewed reports and articles, LGBTQ & Transgender programs are NOT to be forced on to children:

    These scientific studies, perodicals, etc. on a child’s rational and decision-making part of the brain not being fully developed until 25 yrs. old are from experts and is being presented from both sides of the political spectrum–

    From Univ. of Rochester Med. Ctr.–Brain isn’t fully developed until 25: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051#:~:text=The%20rational%20part%20of%20a,cortex%2C%20the%20brain's%20rational%20part.

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141164708

    From the NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678/

    From the Law Society of Scotland: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/legal-news/brain-not-fully-developed-until-age-25-research-reveals/

    https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/02/18/at-what-age-is-the-brain-fully-developed/

    From the American Psychological Association (“APA”): https://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/brain

    More about transgender influencers that interact with children can be found at these links:

    https://www.the11thhourblog.com/post/cutting-to-the-chase-youtube-s-bearded-and-breastless-transmen-a-salesforce-in-the-making-1

    https://www.the11thhourblog.com/post/cutting-to-the-chase-youtube-s-bearded-and-breastless-transmen-a-salesforce-in-the-making-2

    https://www.the11thhourblog.com/post/cutting-to-the-chase-youtube-s-bearded-and-breastless-transmen-a-salesforce-in-the-making-3

  8. Once again, Michael Schnackenberg doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He bloviates a lot and calls people “bigots” and other names, when he doesn’t have any grasp of facts. Schnackenberg says there are no laws granting parents special rights, but children have rights to do what they want. This sounds like the “pedophile manifesto”. Schnackenberg shouldn’t be talking about things he knows nothing about. The NJ courts, especially the Supreme Court has held that PARENTAL RIGHTS are protected by the 1st, 9th, and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. In the Matter of J.S. & C., 129 N.J. Super. 486, 489-90 (1974) the Court held that “the right of a parent to the companionship and care of his or her child, is a fundamental right protected by the First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Those are “special protections” that parents enjoy. The Constitution and the courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court have held time & again that parental rights is a LIBERTY RIGHT, the HIGHEST FORM OF RIGHTS!!!! The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld these rights since May v.Anderson, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Quilloin v. Walcott, Stanley v. Illinois, Santosky v. Kramer, Troxel v. Granville, et al. It is irrational that a court could find both that a parent is fit and that the same parent’s involvement in the child’s upbringing for years would be a detriment to the child to justify curtailing his parental/parenting time rights. The U.S. Supreme Court in Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 652 (1972), recognized that “the State registers no gain towards its declared goals when it separates children from the custody of fit parents”. A parent “who has demonstrated sufficient commitment to his child is thereafter entitled to raise the child free from undue state interference. Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417, 477 (1990). Simply because the parents’ decisions are not agreeable does not automatically transfer from the parent to the state the power to make decisions concerning the child. Id. at 484-485. Anything contrary to that is certainly at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court’s strong presumption that “parents act in their child’s best interests. See Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 58 (2000)(citing Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 602 (1979)). Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or other parent or, because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state. Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 603 (1979). The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.” Parham,U.S. at 603 . Parents and children do not have competing interests, and it is not correct to presume or assume that parents and children are “adversaries.” Santosky, 455 U.S. at 760 (“until the State proves parental unfitness, the child and his parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship”). Our Constitution treats parents as natural allies of their children. Parham, 442 U.S. at 602. Our jurisprudence holds a high regard for the family into which a child has been born. Santosky, 455 U.S. at 759, 765-66 (rejecting “balanc[ing]” of the “the child’s interest in a normal family home against the parents’ interest in raising the child,” or consideration of “whether the child would have a better home elsewhere”). Our Constitution assumes that children want to remain with their natural family. Id. at 766. The Court has never recognized a separate interest or right that is child-specific, per se; the only recognized right for children in this context is the child’s reciprocal right to maintain his natural family relationship. Parham, 442 U.S. at 603 (not all choices will be “agreeable to a child,” but that “does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from parents to some agency or officer of the state”); Santosky, 455 U.S. at 765. To suggest government’s “special interest” in protecting children, or invoking the altruistic language of “best interest,” or simply saying that “children have a right to be free from harm” are legally insufficient criteria for “children’s rights” and elevating the role of the state into the lives of families. See Martin Guggenheim, “What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights”, passim (Harvard University Press 2005). The Santosky Court’s “refusal to consider the rights of the children [was] analytically correct, since such consideration would involve the assumption of unproven facts. The refusal demonstrates the Court’s commitment, as a policy matter, to the autonomy of the family unit.” The courts do not see the child in isolation, but as an extension and ward of his parents, not the state. Parham, 442 U.S. at 602-03 (parents are presumed to “act in their child’s best interest”); Pierce, 268 U.S. at 535; Meyer, 262 U.S. at 401. Children are not merely autonomous individuals needing the cacophony of alternate voices (e.g., state social services, guardian ad litems, educators, etc.) contending to speak on their behalf. Yoder, 406 U.S. at 213; Parham, 442 U.S. at 606 (rejecting childhood by committee approach); Guggenheim, “What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights” 95 (e.g., assigning independent counsel for a toddler to advance the child’s so-called interest is a legal fiction, as that grown-up lawyer assigned is merely advancing what that grown-up envisions as best for the child). The State and the parent do not stand in equipoise, or have an equal interest in the child. Vivek S. Sankaran, “Parens Patriae Run Amuck: The Child Welfare System’s Disregard for the Rights of Non-Offending Parents”, 82 Temple Law Review 55 (Spring 2009) (showing a historical rejection of broad parens patriae doctrine as case law on parental liberty interest was developed in Meyer, Pierce, Prince, Yoder). “The State’s interest in caring for … children is de minimis if [the parent] is shown to be fit.” Stanley, 405 U.S. at 657-58 (the State “spites its own articulated goals” of child protection when it presumptively and arbitrarily removes children without a due process hearing). The State’s parens patriae interest in promoting the welfare of the child is secondary and triggered only where parents have been determined unfit. Santosky, 455 U.S. at 767 n.17; cf. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 16, 30 (1967) (pejoratively describing latin term parens patriae as a rationalization “to exclude juveniles from the constitutional schemes” and invite “procedural arbitrariness”). The State has no viable interest in children who are with fit parents.

  9. Focus on the vaccination issue. Folks are so addicted to the historical propaganda, they can’t see straight and fail to do their homework. Gender dysphoria his highly correlated with hyper vaccination. The vaccines … all of them … attack the gut flora which in turn affects the developing brain. It is among the highly RELEVANT elements of cognitive impairments in the young across the spectrum. See the work of Dr. Sabine Hazan and Peter McCullough. ASD is itself in play among the young with confused notions of sexual orientation, easily manipulated by peer and social media interactions. Learn that childhood diseases are typically very mild among the unvaccinated and vaccinations only suppress immune response, causing “breakouts” blamed on the unvaccinated when in fact kids are vulnerable to repeat infection, whereas those with natural immunity are not, especially IF their lifestyle promotes health. The link between MMR and autism/ASD in no longer a debate. Did your doctor recommend the COVID shots? If yes, you have good reason by this measure to question his/her judgement: start thinking for yourself. Do your homework. Restricting books in the school library does not restrict what a kid can read … this wording is a manipulation. It only restricts what is in the school library to reflect agreed upon community standards. Get whatever you want elsewhere.

  10. Edward – you are peddling dangerous misinformation about a lot of things here. I worry for your own mental health. I wish you would read some history, one where people had 9 children, because they knew of them would die from whooping cough, measles, and lots of other things vaccines have eradicated. And let me know last time book banning has ever worked out well? Please educate yourself. Maybe by reading some books?

  11. Why are people with the most hate for certain groups (looking at you Hanover BOE) making policy about how those people are treated? These policies are not made with any regard for the safety of the children in question. They are made to weed them out, ostracize them and to flush them from the community. No one on the Hanover BOE has ever met a person, and certainly not a child with any Gender issues. It’s positively draconian and there’s a special place in the afterlife inferno for such actions.

    Matthew 19:13-14
    Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

  12. Sure Tom Gallagher – there should be no boundary? Even what a kid feels about what may or may not be going on in their own bodies? You want to put this in the same category as Guns, drugs, suicidal tendencies (which will happen if a teacher outs them to the parents they are purposefully not telling) and violence toward others? You really want to put this power into a teacher’s hands? “Hello, Mr and Mrs. I noticed your kid was wearing a pink shirt to school.” “They were also talking about a Broadway musical to a classmate.” You need a reality check. Let’s call this what it is. This is discrimination and a policy that was written by people with no empathy for any children You don’t pay your teachers enough to do this. .

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