Planned sex education lessons for first-graders in New Jersey will include discussions of gender identity — outraging some parents and Republican politicians including potential presidential candidate and former Gov. Chris Christie.
A 30-minute lesson called “Pink, Blue and Purple” aims to teach the 6-year-olds to define “gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes,” Fox News reported Friday.
It also includes instructions for teachers to tell students that their gender identity is up to them, according to materials reportedly distributed to parents at a Feb. 22 meeting of the Westfield Board of Education and posted online.
“You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘girl’ parts,” the lesson plan says.
“You might feel like you’re a girl even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘boy’ parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal!”
A lesson plan for second-graders, titled “Understanding Our Bodies,” includes an illustrated discussion of human genitals so kids as young as 7 can use “medically accurate names” for their private parts.
“Tell students: ‘There are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have,’” it says.
A note to teachers also says: “Being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts, but for most people this is how their bodies are.”
The materials emerged amid controversy over a law signed last month by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans the discussion of gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, which critics deride as “Don’t Say Gay.”
They’re part of a broader, K-12 health and sex education curriculum adopted by the New Jersey Board of Education in 2020 that goes into effect in September.
“I am honestly appalled at this curriculum,” Maria DeMaio-Esposito, a mother of two from Howell, told the Asbury Park Press.
“I am debating whether to place my child in a private school if I can afford it. Is this curriculum really necessary? Children need to stay children. Their innocence is beautiful and I do not want their little minds filled with this very adult topic.”
Parents are able to opt out of having their kids take part in the lessons, but Paula McCarthy-Mammana of Jackson — who said the curriculum “makes me sick” — said that move would be stigmatizing.
“My granddaughter is going to be entering eighth grade, if she opts out of a class she’s going to be looked at by her peers in a different manner,” McCarthy-Mammana told the AP.
“She may be bullied or harassed and I don’t agree with a child being targeted because of family moral issues.”
In an appearance on Fox News, Christie — who ran for president in 2016 and is reportedly considering another White House bid — told Fox News: “I think this is just a further indication of the crazy liberal policies of my successor, Phil Murphy, who is in the progressive movement.”
“He’s on the left of the progressive movement, and this kind of stuff just should not be going on,” he added.
State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-Westwood) told Fox News that as “a mom and a legislator, I can appreciate the need for students to receive age-appropriate instruction, but this is beyond the pale.
“We knew that when Gov. Murphy used the cover of the pandemic to push these new standards through that something was terribly wrong, and now we can clearly see why they needed to do this in secret,” she said.
“The agenda has swung so far left in an attempt to sexualize our precious children that parents are fighting back.”
State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Cape May) said the lessons were the latest in a series of affronts to Garden State parents.
“We fought for kids to return to school in person. Then we had to fight to take off our kids’ masks. Now, we have to watch our elementary school children, who have already fallen behind thanks to the Murphy lockdowns, learn about genitalia and gender identity?” Testa said.
“It’s abuse, plain and simple.”
Westfield schools Superintendent Raymond Gonzalez told Fox News that the lesson plans were “a sample list of resources aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards to be considered as school districts work on revisions to the health and [physical education] curriculum.”
“We made it clear at the meeting and subsequent meetings that these are resources only — they are not state-mandated — and that the district is in the process of developing its revised curriculum to meet state standards,” Gonzalez added.
Murphy’s office didn’t immediately return requests for comment.