A new Monmouth University poll finds that 77% of New Jersey residents, including a majority of Democrats, think parents should be notified if their child seeks to change gender on school records, and 75% oppose teaching gender education at the elementary school level. A resounding 81% of parents support schools being mandated to notify parents if children raise questions about sexual identity – with Democrats (61%), Independents (81%) and Republicans (92%) all on the same page. Nearly eight in 10 New Jersey residents of color (79%) support parental notification, according to the poll.
These findings deliver a clear message: “Don’t mess with our children, Trenton.” When you compare the poll findings with the actions taken by the Murphy administration on the issue of parents’ rights, parental notification and related issues, it’s clear that Murphy and his loyal lieutenants, like Sen. Vinod Gopal, are badly out of touch with the will of the people and parents. Parents are rightfully outraged and concerned by the state’s actions.
Here are five things that all parents should know as the new school year gets underway:
1. The State of New Jersey is currently suing local school boards to prevent parents from being notified should their children – as young as 5, 6 or 7 -- want to change their sexual identity while in school.
2. The state recently directed school districts to permit young boys into girls’ sports and girl’s bathrooms, and vice versa, and has directed sex-specific pronouns be removed as much as possible (“he,” “she”).
3. Sex and gender education has been mandated across the state for elementary school children, even though the vast majority of parents do not want their children exposed to this material, according to a new survey.
4. Here in Monmouth County, more than $70 million has been cut from our largest school districts, due to school funding formula supported by Sen. Vinod Gopal, leading to teacher layoffs, cuts in resources and increases in classroom sizes.
5. On national television, Murphy described the state’s decision to sue these three school boards as “the right thing to do” and called the overall situation a “culture war.”
The Murphy administration has gone too far, while demonstrating a truly troubling and blatant pattern of disregard for parents’ rights. The actions noted above speak volumes, and for most parents, it’s all just too hard to believe.
Given the new poll numbers, it’s time for the governor and his loyal lieutenants to listen to the will of the people and, most importantly, to the will of parents. The state’s case against these three school boards – all comprised of volunteer parents -- presumes that the vast majority of parents are potentially cruel and unloving. That’s just wrong. While we all appreciate the court’s clear language stating that’s its preliminary injunction does not indicate how it will eventually rule on the case noted above, parents across the state hope that the court will ultimately defend parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children.
It’s heartening to see increasing support for parents’ rights coming from state legislators, advocacy groups and parents from across New Jersey. And the call to action for parents locally is straightforward: It’s time to get involved with your local school boards, and past time to know what’s going on in your child’s school when it comes to this specific issue.
When children raise questions about sexual identity while in school, we all should remember that these are serious issues. Children in such circumstances need to be surrounded with love and support from teachers, counselors and their parents, but always WITH parents. Schools will be back in session over the coming days and soon families with kids will kick into their school year routines. When children are in school and have to see the nurse because they don’t feel well, parents receive a call at home. When a child falls in the playground and cuts his or her knee, parents receive a call at home. But the state is insisting that a call shouldn’t be made to parents when deeply serious issues about a child’s health and well-being arise? As the poll numbers clearly suggest, that makes little to no sense to the vast majority of parents here in New Jersey.
Since this administration will surely insist on pressing forward with what Gov. Murphy calls a “culture war,” the governor, his attorney general and elected officials, like Gopal, should do something really simple. Sit down with parents raising young children and ask them what they think. As the poll indicates, the vast majority of parents will tell all of them – and everyone in Trenton – that no one has any business getting in between them and their children. Stated in another way, don’t mess with our kids. Let children be children, and know that parents always want to be involved.
Steve Dnistrian, who is running for public office for the first time, is the Republican Candidate for State Senate in New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District. The election takes place this November. For more information, visit www.SteveforNJ.com. on Facebook at STEVE for NJ State Senate LD-11, and Twitter @sdnistrian.