‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ sponsor says Murphy administration should stop dividing children and parents, and focus instead on school funding

‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ sponsor says Murphy administration should stop dividing children and parents, and focus instead on school funding

Alex Sauickie

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Alex Sauickie, who represents one of the school districts being sued by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration over its parental notification policy, says it’s time to stop suggesting parents are a danger to their kids and recognize the real danger to students is slashing school funding.

“Earlier this year, I testified before the Assembly Budget Committee to paint a clearer picture of the fiscal cliff our schools are facing and fight for a full restoration of funding, but unfortunately the Murphy administration chose instead to pick an unnecessary fight with schools and parents, and waste taxpayer money,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “Parents aren’t the enemy.”

New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin sued Marlboro, Middletown, and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional school districts in Monmouth County over their parental notification policies that would have alerted guardians to their child’s mental health issues. The Murphy administration objected to gender identity being included in the list of mental health issues. This week, Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman granted the administration’s request for a preliminary injunction, which put the policies on hold.

“These schools created the policies following public input and are now being punished for their transparency,” Sauickie said. “After suffering millions in state aid cuts under Governor Murphy, schools shouldn’t have to pay to defend a parent’s right to be involved in their child’s education. This is why my Republican colleagues and I in the Assembly sponsor the Parents’ Bill of Rights. There is no better children’s advocate than parents and no bigger threat than this administration.”

The bill (A3800) prohibits a public school or school district from denying the rights of parents and guardians of enrolled students and ensures they have access to records concerning their children.

“Considering that test scores show New Jersey students lost months of reading and math instruction due to government school shutdowns, the focus should be on funding and supporting schools by addressing this unprecedented challenge,” Sauickie added.

According to the Education Recovery Scorecard, test scores dropped between 2019 and 2022, demonstrating New Jersey students are seven months behind in math and more than two months behind in reading. Middletown and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional school district students are more than four months behind in math and nearly two months in reading.

“There is no problem with the schools’ policies on parental notification. The problem is that Governor Murphy is trying to come between parents and children over a fabricated culture war that only exists to raise his national profile and deflect from his failures in educating our children,” Sauickie said.