New Jersey to require 2nd graders learn about gender identity in fall, alarming parents

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New Jersey public school second graders will be getting lessons related to gender identity this fall under state sex education guidelines that will take effect in September. 

The standards listed “performance expectations” for second graders, which include discussing “the range of ways people express their gender and how gender role stereotypes may limit behavior.”

Educators in the Garden State are preparing to carry out the teaching standards, which were established in 2020 but not required to be enacted until Sept. 2022.

One school district in the state distributed sample lesson plans indicating first graders could be taught they can have “boy parts” but “feel like” a girl.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pauses during his COVID-19 update at the War Memorial in Trenton Feb. 5, 2021.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pauses during his COVID-19 update at the War Memorial in Trenton Feb. 5, 2021.
(USA Today Network via Reuters Connect)

The lesson plans, which were given to parents at the Westfield Board of Education’s Feb. 22 meeting, appear to be reflective of the Garden State’s new, broader sex education curriculum.

One lesson plan, “Purple, Pink and Blue,” instructs teachers to talk to their first graders about gender identity, and its first objective is to have the students be able to define “gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes.”

The lesson’s second objective is to have students name “at least two things they’ve been taught about gender role stereotypes and how those things may limit people of all genders.”

“Gender identity is that feeling of knowing your gender. You might feel like you are a boy, you might feel like you are a girl,” the lesson plan states. “You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘girl’ parts. 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!”

Another lesson plan for second graders, “Understanding Our Bodies,” tells teachers to instruct students that “there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have.”

President Biden visits teacher Allison Hessemer’s pre-kindergarten class at East End Elementary School to highlight the early childhood education proposal in his Build Back Better infrastructure agenda in North Plainfield, N.J., Oct. 25, 2021.  

President Biden visits teacher Allison Hessemer’s pre-kindergarten class at East End Elementary School to highlight the early childhood education proposal in his Build Back Better infrastructure agenda in North Plainfield, N.J., Oct. 25, 2021.  
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

“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 plan states. “Most people have a vulva and a vagina or a penis and testicles, but some people’s bodies can be different. Your body is exactly what is right for you.”

The objectives for this second grade lesson include having children be able to “identify at least four body parts” from female and male genitalia, and for students to describe “why it is important for them to know the correct names for the genitals.”

A spokesperson for Westfield Public Schools told Fox News Digital that the teaching materials were not the school district’s plans. The school superintendent told Fox News Digital that the materials presented to parents at the February Board of Education meeting were a “sample list of resources” aligned with state policy.

“During a presentation at the Feb. 22 Board of Education meeting, we provided an update on the district’s work to revise the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum,” Superintendent Dr. Raymond González said. 

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“The presentation included 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 PE 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,” the superintendent continued.

Republicans say the lesson plans show the educational priorities of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration are misplaced.

“It’s simple. Gov. Murphy thinks he knows better how to parent your children than you do,” Alexandra Wilkes, the New Jersey GOP’s communications director, told Fox News Digital.

“The shocking, graphic materials taught to children barely old enough to read and write fly in the face of the Democrats’ insistence on the campaign trail last fall that critics of these new standards were exaggerating or even bigoted for raising concerns in the first place.

“Democrats lied to parents, belittled and shamed them for wanting a say in their children’s education, and they’re about to find out this November what happens when you mess with other people’s kids.”

Phil Murphy, the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey, and his family arrive to vote in Middletown, N.J., Nov. 7, 2017.

Phil Murphy, the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey, and his family arrive to vote in Middletown, N.J., Nov. 7, 2017.
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Legislators in the state also blasted the Murphy administration over the school district’s lesson plans.

State Sen. Holly Schepisi, a Republican who was sent the materials by concerned parents, told Fox News Digital 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. The agenda has swung so far left in an attempt to sexualize our precious children that parents are fighting back.

“Based on the overwhelming outreach I have received from parents, Democrats should expect a reckoning this fall.”

Schepisi’s colleague, Republican state Sen. Michael Testa, did not mince words in a statement to Fox News Digital, calling the elementary school sex education lesson plans “abuse.”

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“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.”

Testa also had a message to “every Democrat on the ballot this fall,” ahead of a widely-predicted Republican wave, to “get ready for the army of parents who will not sit by and watch you steal the innocence of our children without a fight.”

New Jersey Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn, a Republican, said that as “a mother, former Board of Education member and current member of the Assembly Education Committee, I am disturbed that Gov. Murphy and the Department of Education are not laser focused on addressing learning and proficiency gaps stemming from COVID lockdowns and remote learning, and instead implement curricula intended to indoctrinate elementary school students and substitute the role of parents in these sensitive topics.

“No kid should have to talk about sex with their elementary school teacher.”

New Jersey political commentators also weighed in, with radio host and dad Matt Rooney warning that these lesson plans are what happen “when you let [New Jersey Education Association] radicals and far-left wackos take control of your children’s education.”

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In June 2020, New Jersey’s board of education broadened its sex education standards to include lessons on both abortion and gender identity.

Neither the New Jersey Department of Education nor the Westfield Board of Education immediately responded to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This report was updated to remove a standard designated for children up to fifth grade.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-jersey-second-graders-learn-gender-identity-alarming-parents