Most New Jerseyans want schools to notify parents about their child’s gender confusion: poll

AFP via Getty Images/Ina Fassbender
AFP via Getty Images/Ina Fassbender

As New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin takes multiple school districts to court to stop the enactment of parental notification policies, a recent survey suggests that most of the state's residents support requiring schools to notify parents if their child asks to identify as the opposite sex. 

The poll, released Tuesday and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from Aug. 10-14, found that nearly four in five New Jersey residents believe schools should be required to inform parents if their child requests to identify as the opposite sex. 

For the survey, 814 New Jersey adults aged 18 and older were randomly selected and interviewed by phone or text. The survey's results have a 95% level of confidence with a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percentage points. 

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The findings suggest that 77% of New Jersey residents believe middle school and high school staff should be required to notify parents if a student asks to identify as the opposite sex. 

Among parents with children younger than 18, 81% said school districts should require parental notification if their child seeks to identify as the opposite sex, while 59% believe schools should notify parents even if there is no such requirement.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats to support parental notification requirements. However, the survey finds that nearly two-thirds of Democrats surveyed favored the requirement.

Ninety-two percent of Republicans and 81% of independents indicated support for parental notification policies, compared to 61% of Democrats. 

However, if the school district does not require parental notification, a majority of Democrats (58%) thought that schools should leave the matter to the student and their parents. Most Republicans (76%) said schools should still notify parents in this case, as did 58% of Independents.

Regarding other LGBT policies, 58% of state residents said that trans-identified students should be required to use bathrooms that align with their biological sex. Only 28% of residents said trans-identified students should be allowed to use the bathroom that aligns with their chosen sexual identity, while 14% said they were unsure. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they support providing "gender-inclusive" bathrooms for trans-identified students. Oftentimes, bathrooms designated for people with disabilities are changed to allow trans-identified individuals to use them as well. 

In terms of athletics, the survey found that most state residents (64%) believe that trans-identified male students should play on men's sports teams instead of women's sports teams. 

Sixty percent of New Jersey residents surveyed expressed support for teaching high school students about "the range of ways people express their gender," compared to 42% who approve of teaching this to middle school students. Only 22% of residents supported teaching gender expression to students in the first through fifth grades. 

A solid majority of Republicans oppose teaching students about gender identity at the elementary (97%), middle (86%) and high school levels (69%).

However, most Democrats (82%) and Independents (61%) approve of teaching high school students about alternative gender identities, while 68% of Democrats support teaching these ideas at the middle school level. Fifty-six percent of Independents disapprove of teaching middle school students about alternative gender identities.

The poll also examined how much attention New Jersey residents have given to how public schools in their state handle the gender identity issue. Forty-one percent of residents said they were paying a little attention, and 38% said they had been paying a lot of attention. Twenty-one percent of New Jersey residents answered that they have not been paying attention at all. 

A higher share of Republican participants (49%), who are more likely to strongly oppose schools allowing students to identify as the opposite sex, pay a lot of attention to the issue compared to Independents (37%) and Democrats (31%). 

The survey's release follows a New Jersey judge's recent decision to temporarily block three school districts from enforcing a policy that requires schools to inform parents if their child expresses a desire to identify as the opposite sex or as non-binary. 

New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman granted the state of New Jersey's request Friday for a preliminary injunction against the parental notification policies enacted by three Monmouth County districts in June. The three districts are the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District, the Marlboro Township Public Schools and Middletown Township Public Schools. 

The injunction is the result of lawsuits New Jersey Attorney General Platkin filed in June against the districts and their respective boards of education. The attorney general's office believes that the policies amount to discrimination "against students on the basis of gender identity and gender expression."

During a hearing last week before Bauman's decision, an attorney for one of the school districts argued that parents would likely become angry if their child harmed themselves due to struggles with their gender identity and the school concealed this information from them. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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