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New state-wide sex ed standards in New Jersey teach students as young as 13 years old about anal sex and their pregnancy options, and school districts that fail to comply could face “disciplinary action,” or even a loss of funding.
The standards were adopted by the New Jersey Board of Education in June 2020, and schools are required to implement them beginning this month. Amid concern from parents and school districts, the state Department of Education has warned that schools that fail to implement the new standards may face discipline.
The state standards describe what students should learn by each grade level, and it is up to the districts to design a curriculum to adhere to the standards. By eighth grade, according to the New Jersey standards, students should “describe pregnancy testing, the signs of pregnancy, and pregnancy options, including parenting, abortion, and adoption;” and “Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.”
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By eighth grade, the students should also “develop a plan to eliminate or reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs (including HIV).”
One mother of students in the Berkeley Heights school district called the standards “harmful and offensive,” adding that it was difficult to find on her school’s website exactly what her children would be learning.
The mom, who asked to remain anonymous, has chosen to opt her children out of the parts of updated sex ed curriculum she and her husband found alarming, but worried other parents in the state may be unaware of what is being taught.
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“All I’m asking for is transparency and accountability,” she said, adding she hopes other parents realize there are ways to opt out.
“I had to send quite a few emails and figure out who is in charge and teaching what to get to this point,” she said, adding that it is “a lot of work for most parents.”
The superintendent of the Berkeley Heights school district, Dr. Melissa Varley, told Fox News Digital the district “presented the new PE/Health Curriculum on August 11th at the Public Board meeting. The Assistant Superintendent and PE/Health Supervisor explained in detail the Opt Out Process available to all parents.”
“In addition, all parents are welcome to personally review the curriculum guides and teaching materials,” she added.
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Dr. Varley also noted that, regardless of the district’s own beliefs about the standards, New Jersey state law requires them to be taught. “If we do not, we do not pass New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) monitoring. If the district fails this process we may become ineligible for state and even federal funding.”
“As our government and newly appointed Supreme Court judge struggle to define ‘what is a woman,’ it gives parents like me little confidence those who write our updated state guidelines on sex ed have any business teaching my children how to safely have anal sex and about abortion. It’s an insult to parents and destructive to our children,” the mother in the Berkeley Heights school district said.
“The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) are mandatory for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to implement and failure to comply can result in disciplinary action,” a spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Education told Fox News Digital. “Under [New Jersey Statutes Annotated] 18A:35-4.7, for children to be excused from any part of instruction in health, family life, or sex education, their parent or guardian must inform the school principal in writing that the instruction conflicts with their conscience or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.”
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“The New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) serves as one mechanism for the New Jersey Department of Education’s (Department) compliance monitoring and self-evaluation system for public school districts (districts). The system focuses on monitoring and evaluating districts in five core components that, based on research, have been identified as key factors in effective district operations. Specific indicators in each of the five areas are self-evaluated by the district and verified by the Department. If a district scores below 80% in any of the NJQSAC areas, the district is required to create a district improvement plan to address the indicators found to be out of compliance. An assessment is made of the district’s capacity and effectiveness based on its compliance with the indicators. Following the assessment, the district is placed on a performance continuum that will determine the level of oversight, and technical assistance and support it receives in accordance with NJSA 18A:7A-10. Dependent upon the percentage of quality performance indicators a district satisfies upon review of the improvement plan, the Department may determine whether additional monitoring or intervention is warranted, pursuant to NJSA 18A:7A-14,” the spokesperson continued.