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The New Jersey Assembly just approved a bill, A4454, that “requires school districts to include instruction on diversity and inclusion as part of implementation of New Jersey Student Learning Standards.” In particular, the bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, would “encourage safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments for all students regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual and gender identities, mental and physical disabilities, and religious beliefs.” It would also teach K-12 students about “unconscious bias.”
North Jersey reports that Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Morris) had supported the bill when it only applied to students in grades 9-12. But he is “against teaching young children about gender preferences and sexual identity”:
“When I stood up for this bill previously it applied to very specific requirements that needed to be taught that were age-appropriate for 9 through 12th-grade students,” said Bergen on Monday. “My son is 8 years old. He believes in Santa Claus and believes leprechauns come on St. Paddy’s Day. There is a certain level of naivete that our children enjoy and we should really protect that.”
Schools are supposed to assure knowledge where skill sets are passed on to students to move them to college or perhaps a trade,” Scharfenberger said. “Many constituents of mine have reached out to me appalled that children in kindergarten will have to process being taught about gender and identity and other concepts that even many adults struggle to understand.”
The proposed law doesn’t include an opt-out provision.