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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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New Jersey school district scuttles transgender bathroom policy amid public outcry

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

TOM'S RIVER, New Jersey, February 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A New Jersey school district scuttled a vote on a transgender policy allowing boys in the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms and vice versa when Christians spoke out against it.

The Asbury Park Press reported that the board of education was prepared to pass the new transgender-approving policy, but a pastor began an online petition drive to stop the proposal.

The petition, to "protect the privacy and safety of students," was started by Rev. Shawn Hyland last weekend and already had 400 signatures by Monday.

"This is a sensitive topic, as gender confusion is a real and personal struggle for individuals," the petition reasoned. "Every student ... must be treated with the utmost love and respect. However, this proposed policy would potentially force girls to undress themselves in front of biological males."

The online petition continued, "Girls and boys are naturally embarrassed and insecure of their bodies. Many feel awkward to change in front of those of the same gender. As parents, leaders and responsible adults, we must protect our daughters and sons from the potential shame that a violation of privacy and safety could cause."

The petition then invited those who agree to sign a letter Hyland sent to Assistant Superintendent John Coleman, explaining his concern that "transgender polices that specifically mandate shared bathroom and locker rooms, undermine common sense and potentially violate the long held Sexual Harassment Policy. Forced unwelcome exposure from the opposite sex will create a sexually hostile learning environment."

"To allow male students who identify as female to use girls' bathrooms and locker rooms, based on subjective and unverifiable identities, not on objective traits; the school board is risking the safety and health of all students."

Hyland told LifeSiteNews, "When you begin to request access to the private spaces of the biological opposite sex, you violate the social contract of the student body. This inevitably puts everyone's privacy and safety at risk."

Hyland said he started the online petition out of loving concern. "As an act of love and protection on behalf of minors, we firmly believe the Federal government should not force their agenda into the locker rooms of our daughters and sons."

Hyland hopes other communities rise up to stop school districts from adopting transgender bathroom policies. "I hope our success in tabling this policy will encourage other faith leaders to get involved and make a difference," Hyland said.

Hyland and his wife created "Move The Earth" in 2008 as a movement for Christians to influence their society for the better. 

The school board "tabled" the proposed transgender-normalizing policy for further consideration.

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