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A Culture War Could Be Erupting at a New Jersey School Near You—If It Hasn’t Already


Illustration of several large hands pointing toward a backpack-wearing schoolboy
Illustration: John W. Tomac

Dozens of people, some on their knees, some clutching rosaries, some weeping, gathered in small circles and prayed for God’s help in what some were calling the next American Revolution.

Children carried homemade banners and signs. One neatly lettered sign read, “Protect me from the state.’’ Another said, “Freedom.’’ Several senior citizens quietly sang church hymns and said they were preparing for the fight of their lives.

This was the scene on an otherwise tranquil morning last summer, when the New Jersey state school board gathered in Trenton to vote on changes that would implement new policies and protections for LGBTQ+ students in New Jersey’s 593 public school districts.

The new policy is filled with legalistic and acronym definitions for terms like ASAB (assigned sexuality at birth), cisgender and gender queer. In its simplest form, however, the policy allows transgender students the freedom to use whatever name they choose, participate in gender-segregated activities and classes, and do so with or without a gender marker.

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