Making Transgender Friends Feel Safe in Roxbury

ROXBURY – About 50 students walked out of the township high school last Monday to support protection for transgender students.

Many followed up and pressed the issue at that night’s board of education meeting.

All that was to no avail, as the board rescinded a state-driven transgender student protection policy known by its numerical designation – 5756.

One may have thought student sentiments on something like this would carry weight. The policy, after all, impacts students much more than it does anyone else.

But this was about politics, or rather, political symbolism. And that trumped student sentiment.
The “culture wars” surrounding public education were a big deal in the run-up to last fall’s legislative election with Republicans centering their campaign on opposing “woke” education standards.

As a statewide political issue, this strategy turned out to be a dud. Democrats gained six Legislative seats.

But in the many school board races across the land, the results were mixed.

In this Morris County town, a three-person conservative leaning slate won election.

So, it was just about a foregone conclusion that policy 5756 would be history. And on this night, it was repealed in a 6-4 vote.

The ironic part of all this is that state law protects transgender students from discrimination. That’s not going to change.

The gist of the policy says transgender students must be respected and that teachers and other staffers are not required to inform parents of a child’s gender identity or expression.

Supporters say this policy not only protects students, but that it also insulates the district from liability. With no formal policy guiding teachers and staff, the district is without legal protection if problems arise.

Board Member Carol Scheneck, who is a lawyer and who voted no on the repeal, made that specific point.

That did not matter and that was no surprise given the 2024 make-up of the board.

Some of those speaking out against 5756 framed the debate as much more than it is.

One speaker said the legalization of gay marriage in the state more than a decade ago has prompted a “tsunami” of changes to how sexuality is viewed and practiced.

Another man spoke of a “neo-Marxist” public school agenda. which is typical rhetoric on the far right.

Republican Dawn Fantasia, who represents the district (the 24th) in the state Assembly, said it’s simply wrong to keep information about kids from their parents.

In contrast, many of the students who implored the board to keep the policy said a repeal would “hurt” children.

As one speaker said:

“This policy has made trans kids everywhere feel safer and more comfortable in school.”

As others explained, not every teenager struggling with gender identity has a welcoming environment at home.

One student said she was not transgender, but that:

“I want my friends to feel safe.”

The vote ends the matter in Roxbury – sort of.

As was pointed out, some school districts that repealed the 5756 policy have reinstated it. There is also the fear of litigation.

As stated, the vote here – and in some other districts in New Jersey – was more symbolism than real. Or in this case, taking a strong stand against a “liberal, woke agenda.”

If that was the board’s goal in Roxbury, consider it accomplished.

 

 

 

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14 responses to “Making Transgender Friends Feel Safe in Roxbury”

  1. We don’t need this stuff in schools.
    Kids protesting because of what they see on television.
    Let the parents do their job.

  2. Schools are for teaching. Math, reading, writing, science, computer science, history, etc. parents are and should al Aya be involved in their children’s lives.

    This social nonsense has gone on long enough. It’s really simple. Stand naked in front of a mirror.

    Anyone with half a brain will see and understand what gender they are. Live with it. Deal with it.

  3. unfortunately, the woke mind virus has infected everything. This results in braindead individuals trying to push an agenda/propaganda. It’s mental disease. Gen Z are finished.

  4. Gender is a function of biology and chrosome pairs. You are male or female depending on which chrosome pair you possess. Anything else is mental illness and should be dealt with accordingly.

  5. Sad to see a bunch of ignorant transphobic comments on here. I hope the students can teach the parents how they should act.

  6. A real journalist would have put the work in and discovered that there are also students who support the board’s decision and went so far as to make a public request for Roxbury to return the focus to education and stop obsessing with all things sexuality/identity. When the students need to ask this, you can be sure the adults in charge are not doing their jobs.

  7. A real journalist would have put the work in and discovered that there are also students who support the board’s decision and went so far as to make a public request for Roxbury to return the focus to education and stop obsessing with all things sexuality/identity. When the students need to ask this, you can be sure the adults in charge are not doing their jobs.

  8. Good coverage, Fred. This policy has become a political kickball and nothing else. It’s ignorant to believe that repealing the policy changes the law. Clearly there are transphobic folks in Roxbury who think that making transgender kids uncomfortable is somehow positive. It’s not. All of the top performing districts have preserved the policy. Dear Roxbury Transgender community– You are loved and respected. Ignore the politics.

  9. Well said.

    Schools are for teaching math, reading, writing, science, computer science, history, etc.

    The sexual focus at young age levels in grade school is not necessary.

  10. Said it once. I’ll say it again.
    Stand naked in front of a mirror.
    Anyone with half a brain will see and understand what gender they are.
    Live with it. Deal with it.

  11. Demi Lovato was “they/them” & now she’s back to “she/her”. Gender dysphoria, like any mental confusion/illness, should be treated with compassion. Now hopefully our daughters won’t have to feel unsafe with Bill who thinks he’s Betty in the next bathroom stall or locker room & maybe a girl won’t have a roster spot or scholarship taken by a boy on their swim team. Discrimination laws still apply. This walkout is just political theater. Yawn! Mission accomplished Roxbury BOE. PS- does our school library contain the award winning book “Irreversible Damage” about negative effects of transitioning or just books on how to shove a butt plug up your ass, sexting, watching porn & seeking sex online?

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