Legal advocacy group demands U.S. Department of Ed react to N.J. district’s gender identity survey

A gender identity survey given to Cedar Grove students without parental consent; the fallout continues, and a school board member has resigned as a result of the ensuing parental outrage. Cedar Grove’s survey specifically asked students sexual, gender, and religious identity questions about their respective families, whether “adults in your school are fair in dealing with your particular racial/ethnic group,” and if “adults in your school are fair in dealing with people not in your particular racial/ethnic group.”

This week, America First Legal (AFL) sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Department of Education concerning complaints filed by seven Cedar Grove School District parents. AFL says the Department failed to respond to the complaints in violation of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Six of the seven complaints have languished without action for over one year.

“The United States Department of Education is obligated under the law to enforce the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendments by investigating parental complaints in a timely manner,” America First Legal Senior Advisor Ian Prior said. “In this case, it has been over a year since parents in Cedar Grove, New Jersey submitted PPRA complaints after Cedar Grove School District violated the PPRA and New Jersey law by administering to children, as young as eight years old, surveys about gender identity, religion, and family demographics without providing parents an opportunity to opt-out.”

“On November 15, 2021, the Administrative Law Judge issued a decision finding that “the surveys asked some students about family demographics which could easily elicit highly personal, and oft publicly shamed, information, such as same-sex unions”; that the surveys were not voluntary; and that the district violated N.J.S.A. 18A:36-34 and N.J.S.A. 18A:36-36(a),” explains the AFL in its correspondence with the DOE. “On December 16, 2021, the Assistant Commis- sioner of Education for New Jersey upheld the Administrative Law Judge’s decision. By contrast, there is no evidence that the Department of Education has taken any action to investigate and adjudicate our clients’ complaints.”

You can check out the AFL FOIA’s here and here.

AFL says the Cedar Grove experience isn’t isolated.

“The Biden Administration has demonstrated a pattern of hostility to parental rights and input in their children’s education and the Department of Education’s failure to promptly fulfill its investigatory duties under the PPRA only magnifies what can only be called the most anti-parent administration in history,” added Prior.

The AFL is demanding an answer from the DOE no later than August 29, 2022.

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.