WEST ORANGE, NJ - As several news outlets have reported, a transgender middle schooler from Middletown, NJ, has been working to go to a school where her gender identity will be respected. Garden State Equality of Montclair has been working with the family and the Middletown Township Public School District to ensure that the student can attend school safely.
GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen just spoke with Middletown Township Public Schools Superintendent William O. George III, Ed. D. The two agreed that GSE will take the lead in training administration and staff members of Middletown Township Public Schools in LGBT sensitivity. GSE will work with partners Lambda Legal and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Central New Jersey chapter.
“We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the health and safety of students,” says Bowen. “This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for their needs. We’re excited that the community came together in dialogue to bring this situation to a happy resolution.”
“Every student in New Jersey deserves equal educational opportunities free from harassment and bullying. Students in New Jersey are protected from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying under Title IX as well as New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.
“We are pleased that the Middletown Township Public Schools have recognized their responsibilities under such laws and have agreed to work with the student and her family to ensure a safe educational environment for her.”
“GLSEN Central New Jersey is committed to working with schools and communities for safe schools for every student regardless of gender identity or expression,” states Carol Watchler, Co-Chair of GLSEN Central NJ.
GSE is available as a resource to all schools in New Jersey on guidance about diversity, inclusion, and the Anti-bullying Bill of Rights. GSE also operates New Jersey’s only Anti-bullying Helpline at 1-877-NJBULLY, where we provide guidance on working with NJ’s anti-bullying policies.
GLSEN Central New Jersey, a Chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), serves the central portion of New Jersey made up of Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset County. The chapter supports local youth by providing support for GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) and works with legislators, the community and educators to ensure safe and inclusive schools for all students. GLSEN Central New Jersey will host their 11th Annual Conference for New Jersey Gay-Straight Alliances on November 15th 2014.