New Jersey passed a bill this week that requires schools to use preferred gender pronouns and names for all students, and even permit locker room and bathroom access to the opposite sex (S3067/A4652).

The bill passed this week is a focused extension of the existing law.  It directs the New Jersey school system to immediately develop guidelines forcing schools to refer to students by whatever pronoun they prefer, and whatever name they feel “corresponds to [their] gender identity” – and to allow the student to use whichever bathroom or locker room they prefer.  

Related: Department of Education Takes Aim at Gender Pronouns in Schools

Our greatest concern is the message these laws send about gender and sexuality to young and impressionable children, not to mention valid privacy concerns, but laws like these are problematic for other reasons as well.  They pose practical problems for schools, fundamentally misunderstand human development, and put too much power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats.

Practical Problems for Schools

This law sets no guidelines for how “gender identity” is determined.  The law simply states that schools must comply with the gender identity the student desires.  A child could decide to be Billy one day and Cassandra the next and the school would be required to generate new documentation, issue new ID cards, and keep every teacher in the school aware that yesterday the child was ‘he’ and today the child is ‘she’.

There is nothing to prevent a child from changing their mind on their gender as often as they want – and nothing that says gender identity relies on anything other than what the child feels like at the time.

Fundamentally Misunderstands Human Development

Allowing children as young as 5 or 6 to decide their gender, when the state doesn’t trust its citizens with the decision to smoke or not until age 21, is a disturbing sign.  The idea that gender and sexuality is a decision that can be entrusted even to children too young to read or write shows a fundamental misunderstanding of human development.  It may be decades before we see the results of forcing these decisions on children too young to truly understand their ramifications.

More Power in the Hands of Unelected Bureaucrats

Rather than spend the time and effort to craft nuanced guidelines, the law simply instructs the Commissioner of Education to develop guidelines that include what reads like a wishlist for liberal activists.  By passing this off to the school system, the government has effectively washed its hands of any future oversight.  The bar has been set at the minimum, and there is nothing to prevent future administrators from adding on more requirements.

We have talked before about the risks and concerns regarding forced accommodation of gender expression.  It seems New Jersey is eager to learn these things first-hand.

Nebraska Family Alliance
Nebraska Family Alliance exists to advance family, freedom and life by influencing policy, mobilizing prayer, and empowering people.
Nebraska Family Alliance

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