Parental rights are a foundational element of our thriving democracy, but that foundation is being threatened daily by a progressive ideology overtaking some state governments.
Take this area of New Jersey. The Marlboro Township Board of Education adopted a policy that would communicate to parents of students if their child attempts to change their pronouns, name, or anything related to gender fluidity. This seems like common sense and a safeguard for both parents and schools, so the line of communication remains open.
In response, the Attorney General of New Jersey sued the school district claiming that the district's parental notification policy violates the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The AG filed an Administrative Complaint with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division on Civil Rights ("DCR") against the school district and is hoping the court will intervene and stop the district from implementing the policy.
Now, attorneys at the Goldwater Institute have intervened with a legal filing on behalf of a mother whose child attends the school district.
Public school education may be an arm of the state in terms of funding, but that doesn't mean parents shouldn't have the right to know exactly what their children are learning, what's happening in school or any other issue related to their child.
Goldwater Staff Attorney Adam Shelton, representing the mother, Angela Tycenski, said in a statement, "But in order to meaningfully exercise that right, parents must be told when the government, including public school officials, make decisions that directly affect their children's mental health or physical well-being."
In their intervention filing, the attorneys advocating on behalf of Tycenski and other concerned parents make their case compelling:
"This case is about parental rights, specifically, about a parent's right to be informed when teachers and school administrators are involved in fundamental decisions a child is making about their identity and gender expression… Most important is whether the parental rights at issue in Policy 5756 [the parental notification policy] are protected by the Constitution, and accordingly, whether granting Plaintiffs' injunction would violate the constitutional right of parents to be informed about their children's well-being. The answer to both questions is yes."
It is not a form of discrimination to have a parental notification policy like the kind the Marlboro Township Board of Education put in place. It's not discriminatory to the LGBTQ+ community to communicate to parents that a child suddenly wants to change her name or pronouns. It's both a safeguard for the school, to keep the school from being accused of secretly pushing the student towards gender fluidity, and a way to ensure that parents are involved with their child, even while they're at school.
Parental rights must remain paramount in society, especially in public schools, where often a progressive ideology begins to take hold in some parts of the country. School districts that try to maintain these relationships between parents, administrators and students should be applauded and celebrated, not sued for discrimination.