NJ State Board of Education votes to discriminate against your children

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Girls and Religious Minorites are now at risk

I apologize. This is a long update, but it’s a MUST READ.  

Yesterday, the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted an amended Equity regulation that violates the deeply held religious beliefs of tens of thousands of New Jerey families, and violates the physical private spaces of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey girls (and boys), while at the same time putting at risk opportunities for education and the advancement of girls in the workforce.  

This intentional act of discrimination against protected classes, was so indefensible the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan, and the Director of the Division of Field Support and Services within the NJ Dept of Education, Dr. Christopher Irving, and his assistant blatantly denied the facts of their argument. State bureaucrats do not propose policy changes and give public testimony under oath to avoid legal accountability for the type of actions that were on display yesterday.  

The questions posed by Vice President of the State Board of Education, Andy Mulvihill, and State Board Member Mary Beth Berry towards Dr. Irving and his team, clearly showed their proposal flies in the face of the anti-discrimination efforts that were the spirit of the amendment. Furthermore, Ms. Berry pointed out that by once again removing local control from parents and communities regarding issues of sex, gender, sports teams, sex ed classes, bathroom polices, and other items, the State Board of Education will seriously violate parental rights by sidelining parents, and elected school board members, from having any control or decision-making power on these issues.  

The New Jersey Dept of Education went into full scale political crisis management mode – deny, deny, deny; and when possible – deflect, deflect, deflect. It was excruciatingly painful to observe. They said the State believes in local control on these issues, that parents and local school boards must have conversations on these issues and find what works for their community. Vice President Mulvihill was rightfully frustrated with this response. He said, “I think you are talking out of two sides of your mouth. You say you believe in local control, but Hanover (Board of Education) is being sued by the State for not doing what the State wants.”  

The meltdown continued. The legal team for the NJ Dept of Education interrupted a motion that was put on the floor by VP Mulvhill to table the vote and insisted that the Board take an emergency executive session to regroup.  After a 45-minute delay, the Board returned and the Equity amendment passed with the slimmest margin possible 6-5.  

This new regulation removes all language that reflects binary gender terms and binary biological sex terms from state education policies. These changes will impact local districts under the equity plan developed by the Affirmative Action Officer and approved by the County Education Superintendent – an employee of the NJ Dept of Education. If a district fails to meet the plan, financial penalties on that community will incur.  

Examples include removing the words [for male and female students] and replace them with “based on gender identity,” removing [men and women] and replacing them with “persons,” removing [for the two sexes] and replacing them with “based on sex,” removing members of [both] sexes and replacing them with [all] sexes. (Both is a binary either/or. In this policy, biological sex is no longer a binary distinction.) 

To see all the changes from the NJ State website, click here.  

Stay encouraged! The fight is not over. We must stand firm (1 Corinthians 15:58, 16:13)  

Our allied legal non –profit, the Pacific Justice Insitute is working with us at the New Jersey Family Policy Center once again to put forth a legal challenge to this reckless and discriminatory act of state government. There are a number of legal steps we will be taking on your behalf to defend your rights and your children. We need your financial support today as we begin this legal challenge.  

Shawn Hyland

Director of Advocacy

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