Mayor Mike Inganamort submitted the following written testimony to the New Jersey State Board of Education for their August 6, 2023 meeting.
Dear Members of the New Jersey State Board of Education:
On behalf of many concerned parents I represent in Chester Township, I strongly encourage you to repeal the August 2, 2023 updates to the state's educational equity rules. I regret that I am unable to testify in person today, but wish to convey my community's grave concern and strong expectation that you right this wrong.
Among the more troublesome changes to these rules are the elimination of gendered nouns and pronouns and the requirement that schools separating students by sex shall do so based on gender identity. The former is a solution in search of a problem. The latter was hastily-adopted, politically-driven, antithetical to established science, and could have far worse long-term impacts on young students.
When and where bullying exists or children are made to feel unwelcome, there exists an opportunity to educate on the Golden Rule. Instead, the Board of Education recommends reorienting the construct of gender, with little regard for the deep confusion this is causing among impressionable young people. This rule change also has the effect of removing a students' parents or trusted family members from the conversation on deeply personal or moral topics.
The State Board of Education has seriously overstepped in adopting these amendments, driving a wedge between children and their parents, putting teachers in an awful position to tackle moral and sexual topics outside their domain and interest areas, and eroding trust in school leadership, to say nothing of the disregard for the people's elected voice on these topics: the New Jersey Legislature.
Please repeal these ill-conceived rule changes.
Mayor, Chester Township