Kendall Tietz, DCNF
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy seemed to change his tune on the state’s proposed sex education standards in a Wednesday statement.
The New Jersey Student Learning Standards – Comprehensive Health and Physical Education (NJSLS-CHPE) were drafted in 2020 and are set to take effect in September. Elementary-aged children in the state’s public schools could be taught that puberty blockers are a good way to “manage” adolescence and masturbation “a few times a day” can help “relieve stress,” according to state sample lesson plans shared by Republican New Jersey state Senator Holly Schepisi on Dropbox, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
Murphy admitted the guidelines may be problematic for the first time Wednesday, directing his Department of Education (DOE) to review the standards and ensure they were age-appropriate, according to a statement.
“We have seen a handful of sample lesson plans being circulated that have not been adopted in our school districts and do not accurately reflect the spirit of the standards,” Murphy said. “Any proposed educational content that is not age-appropriate should be immediately revised by local officials.”
On Monday, Murphy said that he would “entertain” changes to the sex education standards “if folks think that they need to be adjusted or altered, and there’s a reasonable argument for that.”
“In New Jersey, parents always have and always will have a say in their child’s education, which includes opting their child out of any health lesson that they would rather discuss in the privacy of their own home,” he added.
The state standards “define what students should know and be able to do at the end of specified grade levels” and the 2020 NJSLS-CHPE standards “are designed to ensure that all students acquire the health and physical literacy skills needed to pursue a life of wellness at developmentally appropriate ages, including knowledge and skills related to sexual health,” the New Jersey DOE (NJDOE) told the DCNF in a statement.
The state’s DOE said it does not mandate specific curriculum and that “it is the responsibility of local school districts to create curriculum, tailored to and in consultation with their communities, in order to implement standards within the understanding of local setting and context.”
The NJDOE said it is “dedicated to ensuring” that the standards should “uplift all identities … in particular, the struggles that many LGBTQ youth experience feeling safe and supported in schools” especially “when turning on the national news subjects LGBTQ youth to hostility and misunderstanding such as through Governor DeSantis of Florida’s signing of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.”
In his Wednesday statement, Murphy blamed politicians who he said have “misrepresented” the learning standards to “divide and score political points.”
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