A transgender teen from New Jersey and her mother have been working to make sure she will return to school safely in September with her gender identity respected. With the help of Garden State Equality, the student's school district has reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring a safe educational environment for all students.
Garden State Equality (GSE) is not only New Jersey's largest civil rights organization, but a national leader for transgender equality, and has been working with the Middletown Township Public Schools district. The district's superintendent, Dr. William George, released a statement saying that the district will continue to strive to meet each student's educational, social and emotional needs, as they have done in the past.
In addition, Thomas Olausen, the principal of Thorne Middle School where the teen attended last year, stated:
"The Thorne administration and staff members pride themselves on character education and welcome diversity. This student is welcome at Thorne, and if she chooses to attend Thorne, she would be treated with the respect and inclusive opportunities that all students deserve."
GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said:
“We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the health and safety of students. 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.”
Moving forward, GSE will continue to work with the district, leading LGBT sensitivity trainings for the administration and staff members. Should the student decide to stay in the public school system, her needs are sure to be met.