The revised sex education standards were adopted by the New Jersey Board of Education in 2020, but they are being implemented for the first time this school year. The standards were adopted to "address topics that students should know about," including personal growth and development, pregnancy and parenting and social and sexual health. This includes other sex education topics that were already being taught like health conditions, diseases, personal safety and other health-related topics.
According to the new curriculum, by second grade, students will learn about "gender-role stereotypes" and transgenderism and other ways people express their preferred gender. By fifth grade, public school students in New Jersey will be taught about hormones and sexual development.
In addition, fifth graders will be told that they "should feel welcome and included regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexual orientation," meaning that they will be encouraged to become transgender at the young age of 10 or 11.
Eighth-grade students will receive instruction on factors that contribute to making "healthy decisions" about sex. They will also be taught about vaginal, anal and oral sex. (Related: VA Education Department updates model policies for public schools, requires adherence to students' BIOLOGICAL SEX.)
School districts that refuse to implement the new sex education curriculum can be disciplined by the state. This warning comes after several school boards and county governments heavily criticized the new curriculum as being inappropriate
In its statement, the NJ DOE made it clear that parents who do not want their children to participate in these classes are welcome to remove their children from sex education classes after they write a letter to the principal explaining that the lessons "conflict with their conscience or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs," wrote the department.
The Lakewood School District board in south-central New Jersey has officially adopted an opt-in policy, wherein parents and guardians must report to the board if they would like their children to participate in the "Social and Sexual Health" and "Pregnancy and Parenting" components of the updated sex education curriculum. Students and parents who fail to fill up the opt-in forms will automatically be excluded.
Garwood School District in northern New Jersey passed a resolution not to adopt a curriculum that discusses some of the topics required by the state.
The Board of County Commissioners for Sussex County passed a resolution asserting that parents should decide immediately whether they want their children in these new sex education classes. The Sussex-Wantage Regional School District in the same county passed a resolution saying it "disagrees" with the NJ DOE's changes to the sex education curriculum.
Back in May, the Board of County Commissioners for Atlantic County passed a resolution urging the NJ DOE and state Gov. Phil Murphy "to cease from implementing their sexuality education curriculum for grammar/elementary school children and require that all local school boards have public meetings for public input on the sexuality education prior to implementation."
Other school districts are attempting to avoid censure from the NJ DOE while still trying to circumvent the curriculum. The Hoboken School District, for example, is hosting a "family health night" to discuss the new topics brought up by the new curriculum with both parents and children. These open events include experts who are talking families through the topics.
Millstone Township Schools is implementing all of the new topics in the updated curriculum, but many lessons will be left for parents to teach at home if they wish. These include topics on sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual intercourse leading to reproduction for fifth graders. The topic regarding strategies used by sex traffickers and laws around consent that are designed to keep children safe from pornography is also excluded from in-class instruction. Resources are being provided for parents that want to teach these topics at home.
Learn more about public education in America at PublicEducation.news.
Watch this video as Gabe Zolna of the "Zolna Report" reacts to the news that New Jersey students will be taught about gender identity in schools.