New Jersey parents expressed outrage Wednesday over a new state law requiring public school students to learn about LGBT history and rights.
According to a report at NJ Spotlight, dozens of parents lined up to testify in Trenton before the state board of education about the new law that mandates middle and high schools must “include instruction on the political, economic and social contributions (of people in the LGBTQ community) … at an appropriate place in the curriculum.”
The new mandate was signed into law in February by Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy and is modeled after one in California that requires curriculum to be “LGBT and disability-inclusive.”
Breitbart News reported:
Murphy said it was his honor to sign legislation making it mandatory for schools to create lesson plans “about the rich contributions and accomplishments of our LGBTQ community and those with disabilities.”
“The Governor believes that ensuring students learn about diverse histories will help build more tolerant communities and strengthen educational outcomes,” Murphy’s office said in a statement.
NJ Spotlight noted the fact that the state law is currently vague — and does not now require the LGBT material in specific learning standards — “enabled state officials … to avoid taking a stand on the issue – at least for the moment.”
“This law was enacted by the Legislature and falls on school districts to implement,” read board president Kathy Goldenberg from a prepared statement, said the report. “The legislation did not grant the State Board of Education a policy-making role in this.”
However, Goldenberg and other members of the state board admitted revisions were being made to include the LGBT language in social studies standards.
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The group observed the new law “forces radical sexual ideology and its indoctrination into the minds and hearts of our children again, without parental recourse.”
“Impressionable students – our children and grandchildren – are about to be forced to endure radical LGBT sexual indoctrination in the classroom,” the petition states. “That’s after state lawmakers ignored the comments of their constituents and instead bowed to the pressure of powerful lobbying groups.”
Family Policy Alliance added:
Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, a new mandated curriculum will require textbook authors to speculate about the sexual preferences and gender identity of noteworthy historical figures – and then impose this false narrative on our children in public schools. The radical left’s endless obsession with sexuality should not be forced upon our children!
The petition addresses the New Jersey governor and states the new law must be amended to include a parent opt-out procedure for parents who object to the curriculum material.
NJ Spotlight reported two of the revisions in the learning standards language that reflect the LGBT material:
- Explore the various ways women, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and individuals with disabilities have contributed to the American economy, politics and society.
- Evaluate the extent to which women, minorities, individuals with gender preferences, and individuals with disabilities have met their goals of equality in the workplace, politics, and society.
In Trenton, many parents testified the revisions were a violation of their constitutional rights, including their parental rights and the right to religious freedom.
“I am very offended that you let this pass and you’ve taken away my rights as a parent,” said parent Odalys Vasquez. “I gave birth to my children, not you, and you are forcing me to take my kids out of the public school.”
Natalie Baker, a child psychologist who serves as a Swedesboro-Woolwich school board member, however, spoke in favor of the LGBT mandate and compared LGBT individuals to members of the black community.
“Having a curriculum that includes marginalized groups is best for all students,” Baker said. “The LGBTQ curriculum is not sexual education. It is about including a group of people who have historically been excluded from our history books.”
According to NJ Spotlight, Ronald Butcher, a state board of education member for 30 years, chalked up the latest concerns to yet another battle over a prospective change. He pointed to similar struggles over other issues throughout the decades, including the prospect of eliminating performing and fine arts from the curriculum in the 1990s.
“That was a major battle,” he said. “There were those who wanted to eliminate (the arts) from the standards, and I had a fit. I was one of those who pushed to have them included, and, man, I went on a tirade.”
Regarding the LGBT issues, Butcher said, “It is another issue that as times change, the operational environment changes, and standards become very fluid. They need to be.”