Parents and parental rights groups are outraged at a New Jersey school district for its gender identity curriculum and accuse the district of encouraging students to transition.
Lawrence Township Public Schools adopted a transgender policy for the current school year just like the other 600 districts in New Jersey. Policy 5756 was initially adopted in 2016 and revised three years later. The district believes the policy is state-mandated, but a clarification issued in April by the New Jersey Department of Education says the state “does not mandate a curriculum.”
“I’m tired of people hiding behind [state learning standards] as an excuse to teach this far-left agenda, this awakening agenda, this agenda that includes gender theory and all these other things that confuse our children,” father Robert Pluta, who pulled his children of the district
Lesson plans, books, and assignments on gender identity are part of the district’s curriculum.
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“This super progressive agenda woke up…it’s so saturated with race and gender. And it’s like, can we go back to teaching? I don’t want a conservative school, I don’t want a liberal school,” Pluta said.
The picture book “Jacob’s New Dress” by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman, which is read to kindergarten children, tells the story of a boy who likes to play dress-up and wants to wear a dress to school, even when her classmates tell her she can’t wear “girl” clothes. Kindergartners are also read to “My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis, which follows a boy who likes “pretty things” and prefers to wear tiaras and “girly dresses.”
Second graders are read to Marcus Ewert’s “10,000 Dresses,” which features a biological boy named Bailey who dreams of wearing outlandish dresses, and Michael Hall’s “Red,” a story detailing how a blue crayon with a red label is facing an identity crisis because the color it identifies on the inside is not the one seen on its label.
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And fifth graders are told the story of “PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
Another parent, who also lives in the district and removed his children from the public school system for a gender identity curriculum, cited a lesson on “gender snowman” that was taught to fourth graders. , who are asked to consider themselves a “snowman” and play a game where they can choose their gender.
“My main concern is that they are driving the social transition. The curriculum and the policy really promote, really encourage kids to consider social transition,” the parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told FOX News Digital.
The father also explained that there are four steps in gender transition: social transition, puberty blockers, cross hormones, and sex reassignment surgery. She said the district defends itself by pointing out that it does not administer puberty blockers or use other medical gender transition methods.
“Once you have led the horse to the water, the horse is going to drink,” he said. “That’s what a lot of parents are so worried about, they’re actually encouraging it.”
In Lawrence Township, there is a “social justice” unit in the social studies curriculum on “Identity/True Self,” which is taught to students beginning in kindergarten.
Fifth graders in this unit are taught that “one of the first steps that all people take, whether adults or children, if they feel that their internal sense of gender and the sex assigned at birth do not match, is to social transition”.
“This means that adults and children live their lives in a way that expresses their inner sense of who they are: their gender identity,” the unit’s description reads. “A person may use a new name and/or different pronouns than before. Some may change their gender expression: wear different clothes or have a new hairstyle. Students generally want, and have the right to, use facilities or participate in activities schoolchildren who align with their gender identity.
Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for the nonprofit parent group Parents Defending Education, told FOX News Digital that the curriculum is “completely inappropriate for elementary school students.”
“It is based on gender ideology and is not unlike a teacher who chooses to read the catechism and tells students that everything in it is true,” she said. “Perhaps instead of indoctrinating 5- and 8-year-olds, they could focus on reading instruction without activism.”
Other social studies units taught to young school-age children include “Skin Color,” “Bias/Prejudice,” and “Being an Ally/Protest.”
In accordance with the district’s transgender policy, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination “generally makes it illegal for schools to subject people to differential treatment based on gender identity or expression.”
The policy also states that the district “shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity” and that “parental consent is not required.”
“A student need not meet any threshold diagnostic or treatment requirements in order for the school district, school, or school staff members to recognize and respect his or her gender identity,” the policy states. “In addition, a legal or court-ordered name change is not required. There is no affirmative duty for any school district personnel to notify a student’s parents of the student’s gender identity or expression.”
The New Jersey Learning Standards explain that a board of education “must include instruction on the political, economic, and social contributions of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, in an appropriate place in the curriculum.” middle and high school.” students as part of the district’s implementation” of the state learning standards.
Parents have previously criticized the district’s school board over the gender identity curriculum, including at an Oct. 19 school board meeting in which an attorney for the board said in his interpretation of the law that parents Parents do not have the right to determine what is taught. at their children’s school.
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The right of parents “is not to dictate what their children are taught, it is to determine where they attend,” attorney John Comegno said at the time.
Garden State does not have a school voucher program that allows parents to use public funds designated for their children’s education on tuition at another school.
“Proponents of the government’s school monopoly believe they have the right to raise other people’s children the way they see fit,” Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow for the American Federation for Children and activist, told FOX News Digital. of school choice. “It’s a deeply flawed philosophical position that most people consider backwards. Children don’t belong in government. Parents are in the best position to make decisions about their own children’s education and have a fundamental right to do so.”
“The main problem is that the government school system is a one-size-fits-all mess that, by definition, will never meet the needs of each individual family,” he added. “Parents disagree about how they want their children to be raised and educated, and that’s okay. The problem is that special interests dictate how you raise other people’s children in the current system.”
DeAngelis explained that “the only way out of this mess through freedom rather than force is to fund students directly and empower families to choose education providers that best meet their needs and align with their interests.” values”.
“At the same time, the competition will give public schools an incentive to focus on the basics because most parents want their children to be educated rather than indoctrinated.”
The district is represented by US Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, who defeated Republican challenger Bob Healey in the midterms. Healey told FOX News Digital that Kim “is as radical as he gets on issues involving our children and our schools.”
“He supports sex education for kindergarten boys, biological men playing women’s sports, and believes that parents who attend school board meetings are ‘extremists’ because they simply care about what they are being taught.” their kids in the classroom,” Healey said.
Kim’s office did not respond to a request for comment from FOX News Digital.
Three Lawrence Township school board members running for re-election, Pepper Evans, Michelle King and Amanda Santos, won last week against challengers critical of the board and the district’s curriculum.
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“School choice is the only way to truly guarantee parental rights in education. New Jersey public schools received funding of more than $24,000 per student in 2020,” DeAngelis said, citing data from the New Jersey Census Bureau. USA “That money should go directly to families so they can find the education providers that best meet the needs of their children.”
Attendees at the Oct. 19 school board meeting also spotted a Lawrence Township first-grade teacher wearing a “Columbus Was A Murderer” T-shirt. This occurred shortly after Columbus Day and despite the fact that New Jersey has a large Catholic population.
The Lawrence Township Board of Education did not respond to a request for comment from FOX News Digital.