Statement from Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin on Preliminary Injunction Prohibiting Discriminatory School District Policies

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General

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We are pleased that the Superior Court has granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the new policies enacted by the Middletown, Marlboro, and Manalapan-Englishtown Boards of Education from entering into effect while the cases challenging those policies are ongoing.  As the Superior Court correctly found, and as we have argued from the start, it is likely that these new policies violate the rights of our most vulnerable residents by discriminating against them on the basis of gender identity or expression. The Court’s decision today is a major victory for civil rights—especially for the civil rights of our State’s LGBTQIA+ students.

The Superior Court’s decision means that, while this litigation is pending, these school districts are prohibited from modifying or amending the long-standing policies that predated the ones the Court has now enjoined.  Those long-standing policies, which were uncontroversial and widely accepted until just a few months ago, protected the rights of transgender students and permitted schools to inform parents about their children based on individualized and non-discriminatory assessments of a particular child’s needs and circumstances.

To be clear, the State has always respected the rights of parents and agrees that parents should be involved in important decisions regarding their children—and any characterizations to the contrary are flatly incorrect.  As the Superior Court correctly recognized, the State is “not targeting parental rights.”  Indeed, the State has never sought and never will seek a “ban” on parental notification.  All our lawsuits seek to do is to reinstate the same policies these districts found acceptable with little protest for years.  Put simply, we can both keep parents informed about their children’s development and protect the civil rights of our most vulnerable students. Our laws require nothing less.