Transgender students at New Jersey's public schools were given new layers of protection under a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law Friday.
The legislation (S3067/A4652) -- which takes effect immediately -- requires the state education commissioner to draft specific guidelines to help schools address "the needs" of transgender students and establish policies that "ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment" for those students.
Schools will be expressly told that they cannot force transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that conflict with their gender identity.
Instead, schools would be be mandated to provide "reasonable alternative arrangements if needed to ensure a student's safety and comfort."
Schools will also be required to make sure transgender students are addressed by the name and pronoun they prefer, regardless of whether a legal name change has occurred.
In addition, the law tells schools they must allow students to dress according to their gender identity, create confidentiality plans to make sure employees do not disclose a student's transgender or transition status, issues school documents and identification cards to make the student's gender identity, and let students take part in gym class with the gender that matches their identity.
The move appeared to be an about-face for Christie. Read more via NJ