GARWOOD — Garwood’s Board of Education voted on a resolution to not follow the state’s Sex Education Curriculum. The curriculum has come under fire from parents across the state in recent months. While Governor Phil Murphy had asked the Department of Education to review the curriculum, they recently declined to make any changes.
A number of parents stepped to the podium Tuesday night to air their concerns surrounding the state’s proposed curriculum which includes recommended guidelines for instruction in areas ranging from human anatomy and masturbation to gender identity, abortion, puberty blockers and in-vitro fertilization.
Garwood resident Tom Evelina stated that the curriculum as presented “does not belong in school” as, in his opinion, it represents a “leftist” political ideology.
“As a mom and a teacher, just the thought of this makes me sick to my stomach,” said Eleni Gathercole, “Please ask yourselves what good could possibly come from this curriculum. Think about the consequences of what can happen when you teach four, five and six-year olds things that they are not mature enough to handle.”
After some debate and discussion, the board ultimately, voted to opt of the state directive after crafting a resolution Tuesday to declare its intentions. Board members Adrienne Barnes and Vincent Basciano voted against the decision while the other members voted in its favor.
“Should we allow the proposed state curriculum to move forward, the impact it would have in classrooms would allow the school district to demonstrate topics inclusive of sexual activity such as oral sex, anal sex, masturbation and gender to be discussed with students at various grade levels in order to comply with the curriculum standards,” said board member Sal Piarulli, reading from the resolution, “The standards set forth are extreme and inappropriate.”
Mr. Piarulli confirmed that that while the state curriculum is recommended, it is by no means mandatory. Each district in the state, he said, will need to reach its own decisions.
“Saying that kids can opt out is not enough,” Mr. Piarulli continued, noting that the board instead intends to “regain the public’s trust by taking action to make sure that these standards are never adopted.”
In other Garwood news, the board also voted to approve its 2022-2023 budget, which, despite minor increases in expenditures, includes a zero percent increase to the tax levy.
The Clark Board of Education liaison report announced that Clark schools will again host its Rise Choice Program, a free two-week summer initiative for students in grades 6 to 8 designed to give participants the opportunity to explore new interests before starting high school. Some of this year’s course offerings include organized sports, home economics, wellness, STEAM programs, gardening, theater and arts and crafts. The program is open to Garwood students.