Murphy to Clarify Health Education Issues Following Parent Concerns | State and Region

Gov. Phil Murphy promised on Wednesday to provide parents with details on the state’s comprehensive health and physical education student learning standards, which are expected to go into effect in the fall.

Republicans and some parents have criticized the standards for inappropriately requiring school districts to teach even very young children about sexual orientations and gender issues.

GOP lawmakers have introduced bills to prevent such teaching to younger students, in one case limiting such classes to high schools. And State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, called on the governor to provide the public with clarity on what the standards require.

“I have asked my Department of Education to review the standards and provide further clarification on what the age-appropriate guidelines for our students look like,” Murphy said in a press release. “My administration is committed to ensuring that all of our students are equipped to lead healthy and productive lives, now and in the future.

Murphy said he respects the opinions of everyone, including parents, students, educators, administrators and coaches, and the standards were developed with input from all groups.

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“At a time when we must prioritize student mental health and school recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount that our standards also promote inclusivity and respect for every child, including including LGBTQ youth,” Murphy said.

He said parents have always had and always will have a say in the upbringing of their children, and stressed that parents have the right to withdraw their children from any health lessons on matters they would prefer to discuss in the privacy of their own home.

Murphy said the learning standards had been intentionally distorted by “certain politicians seeking to divide and score political points”.

The sample lesson plans that have been distributed have not been adopted and do not accurately reflect the spirit of the standards, he said.

“Any educational content offered that is not age appropriate should be immediately reviewed by local authorities,” Murphy said.

JOURNALIST: Michelle Brunetti


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