Parents won a victory over gender ideology in a New Jersey school district just before the holidays. The case was over whether the Cedar Grove, NJ school district violated state law when it asked its students – as young as 8 and 9 – to fill out a survey about gender, race, and religion. In fact, on November 15, 2021 Administrative Law Judge Gail Cookson found two laws were broken: 1) The district failed to obtain parental consent to distribute the survey, and 2) the survey itself violated the disclosures of certain students on the internet without parental consent. The decision was upheld by the New Jersey Department of Education in mid-December.
The survey was controversial from it distribution in June 2021. According to local website TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove, “Petitioners–parents and caregivers of students in Cedar Grove schools–filed a petition of appeal earlier this year asserting that the Board of Education (BOE) had improperly administered surveys to students last June without obtaining parental consent. Following the board’s motion to dismiss and petitioner’s motion for summary decision, Judge Cookson found that the survey was not voluntary, as no students were informed it was voluntary. Cookson concluded that questions about gender identity, gender discrimination and family demographics ‘could elicit responses concerning sexual behavior or attitudes.'”
The parents noted that such young children would not realize such a survey was voluntary, and the judge and DoE concurred. The assistant commissioner’s ruling states: “Third- and fourth-graders who receive a survey in class would reasonably conclude that they are required to complete it, just as they are required to complete any other work distributed in the classroom.”
The parents, many with legal backgrounds, had apparently advised the school board to not distribute such surveys for being in violation of state law, but Superintendent Anthony Grosso went ahead under the guidance of his Equity, Diversity and Advisory Council, which created the surveys. (In a separate story, the process of selecting members for this council occurred in secret, with the council’s members names not revealed.)
These parents then wrote to TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove after attending a school board meeting at which they were prevented from speaking:
Board President Dye’s tactic of closing public comment, then having Board Attorney Merlino misrepresent pending litigation, followed by her refusal to reopen public comment, and allow persons with knowledge of this action to refute his statements is another example of why the public’s trust and confidence in school district decisions has been eroded.Cedar Grove parents, Letter to TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove
Video footage of the parents being shut down at the November 16, 2021 school board meeting can be seen here.
Let’s hope other parents around North America are inspired by such actions and brave enough to follow suit in 2022.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons