NEW JERSEY — Several New Jersey school districts across New Jersey will introduce a new LGBTQ-focused curriculum this month.
The pilot program is the first part of a state-required mandate that will bring the curriculum to every public school district starting in September. This radical course of studies is now law in New Jersey, despite opposition from parents, public officials, and pro-family organizations such as the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey.
The curriculum requires schools to use instructional materials that accurately portray the political, economic, and social contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The law will be implemented beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law in February.
Related: NJ Public Schools Now Required To Teach LGBT History
The schools piloting the program through June are:
- Asbury Park: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School
- Hackensack: Bergen Arts and Science Charter Middle School
- Haddon Heights: Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School
- Highland Park: Highland Park School
- Millburn: Millburn Middle School
- Morristown: Unity Charter School
- Newark: Newark Arts High School
- Rumson: Forrestdale School
- Somers Point: Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts
- Tuckerton: Pinelands Regional Junior High School
Parents, Family Alliance Speak Out
Schools not in the pilot program can access the lesson plans, but will not have a curriculum coach or professional development training.
Parents and faith leaders spoke out against the curriculum, calling it an assault on religious liberty and that it will teach lifestyles and life choices that stand 100 percent against their family values, according to The Daily Signal.
Shawn Hyland, director of advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance, a faith-based nonprofit, testified before the State Board of Education at an open meeting in Flemington recently. He and others said the curriculum violates the religious rights of parents.
More than 7,000 New Jerseyans have signed the Family Policy Alliance’s petition to protect NJ students from being forced to endure radical LGBT sexual indoctrination in the classroom. The numbers increase daily, according to the organization.
“State lawmakers ignored the comments of their constituents, and instead bowed to pressure from a powerful LGBT-lobbying group, Garden State Equality, to push their beliefs about sexuality on our students, our children, and grandchildren,” Hyland said in his testimony. “The mandated curriculum requirements will now require textbook authors to speculate about the sexual preferences and gender identities of noteworthy historical figures and impose this false narrative on our children. A person’s significant historical contribution should not be predicated on their sex life or their personal feelings about their sexual identity. This endless obsession with sexuality should not be forced upon our children.”
Related: Petition: Let New Jersey Parents Opt Students Out Of LGBT Curriculum
Hyland and the alliance make similar points in their petition that urges lawmakers to allow parents to opt their kids out of the curriculum, akin to sex education in health class. Thousands of people people have signed the FPANJ’s New Jersey LGBT Curriculum Opt-Out Petition. It states that the law should give parents the option to opt their kids out of the curriculum based on “moral and religious objections.”
Curriculum supporters disagree.
“We want students to see themselves in the stories that are told,” said Ashley Chiappano, safe schools and community education manager for Garden State Equality, a nonprofit, LGBTQ advocacy group that is leading the pilot program. “We want to make sure they are getting accurate, appropriate, and historically relevant information about the community and the strides that have been made.”
Fifty schools applied to Garden State Equality to pilot the curriculum. Participating schools will get curriculum coaches, training, and site visits from Garden State Equality. Educators will receive three or four lessons for each grade and subject.
By Daniel Hubbard, staff writer