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New Jersey Sues to Shut Parents Out—Goldwater Stands Up for Mom

August 15, 2023

Just how far can the government go in standing between a parent and their child? New Jersey’s liberal government claims illegally suing schools that refuse to keep secrets from moms and dads is the “American way.” Now the Goldwater Institute is standing up for the constitutional rights of a mom who wants to fight back.

Angela Tycenski of Morganville, New Jersey, has two children—ages 9 and 11—who attend schools governed by the Marlboro Township Board of Education. In order to foster parental involvement in important decisions involving minors, the board recently adopted a new policy that requires school officials to “notify a student’s parent/guardian of the student’s change in gender identity or expression except where there is reason to believe that doing so would pose a danger to the health and safety of the pupil.”

The new policy even includes built-in safeguards to ensure that each situation is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and to balance a student’s needs with a parent’s rights. But it still drew the ire of the New Jersey Attorney General, who’s now suing the Marlboro school district—and two other districts that implemented similar parental notification policies—for allegedly violating the state’s anti-discrimination law. The Attorney General is seeking an injunction blocking implementation of the policy while an administrative complaint is pending against the school district. And appearing on TV to defend the lawsuit, leftwing Gov. Phil Murphy even said it’s the “American way” to keep moms and dads in the dark.

Now, the Goldwater Institute is intervening on Angela’s behalf in defense of the Marlboro parental notification policy. In fact, public schools are constitutionally required to keep parents informed about what’s happening to their kids in school, meaning any government guidance to the contrary is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“Both the U.S. and New Jersey Supreme Courts have consistently upheld parents’ fundamental right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of their children,” adds Goldwater Staff Attorney Adam Shelton, lead attorney on this case. “But in order to meaningfully exercise that right, parents must be told when the government, including public school officials, make decisions that directly affect their children’s mental health or physical well-being.”

In other words, the Constitution requires transparency, not secrecy.

But unfortunately, across the country, activist educators who think they know best are putting themselves between parents and children and attempting to replace parents as the primary raisers of their children. In one particularly egregious case, the Goldwater Institute is helping a Maine mom fight back after a school social worker encouraged her 13-year-old daughter in her gender transition, gave the child a chest-binder, and advised the student not to tell her parents.

Public school secrecy goes beyond gender transitions, too. In states like Rhode Island and Texas, Goldwater is helping concerned parents get the answers they deserve after school districts charged them thousands of dollars in public records fees to find out what’s going on in their kids’ schools.

Public schools should never hide things from parents—whether it’s curriculum content or matters of health. That’s why Goldwater Institute is standing up for parents like Angela and empowering moms and dads nationwide to make informed decisions about what’s best for their children.

You can read this week’s filing here, and read more about the case here



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