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Pallone Praises Highland Park for Leadership in Proposing Inclusive Policy for Transgender Students

May 23, 2016
Press Release

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ –  Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) voiced support for a new policy for transgender students  to be voted on by the Highland Park Board of Education on Monday night. The policy would allow transgender students to access any school bathroom, locker room, or school program based on their affirmed gender. It would also create a program to support transgender students, prohibit discrimination, protect transgender students' privacy, and train school employees in promoting an LGBT-affirming school environment. He was joined by Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler, Superintendent Scott Taylor, School Board President Darcie Cimarusti and Aaron Potenza, Director of Programs for Garden State Equality.

“With divisive and discriminatory laws being passed throughout the country and Congress attempting to take away basic rights from LGBT Americans, it is inspiring that Highland Park is fighting for equality in such a profound way,” said Pallone. “This proposal can serve as an example of how schools in New Jersey can be fair, compassionate and inclusive of all their students.”

The Highland Park proposal was already under consideration when the Obama administration issued a directive on May 13 instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other school facilities that match their gender identity. The proposal came after North Carolina House Bill 2, known as HB2, was signed into law, and says the bathroom a person uses is determined by his or her biological gender at birth.  Pallone strongly condemned HB2, and last week, voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House of Representatives and includes an amendment which would undo President Obama’s landmark 2014 executive order banning federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama’s executive order came after Pallone led a letter urging the President to include workplace protections for LGBT Americans employed by federal contractors.