‘It’s bizarre and creepy.’ Toms River parents voice concerns about new school sex ed curriculum

Parents in the Toms River School District had the chance to voice their concerns about the new statewide sexual education curriculum.
The lessons have become the source of controversy around the state, with many parents fearing that the topics will not be age appropriate. Many communities are still wrestling with what this curriculum means.
State officials have said that the goal of the curriculum is to make schools more welcoming with lessons about gender identity, being gay and just explaining sexual education more broadly. Toms River officials held a meeting Monday evening to help put the parents’ minds at ease.
But some parents at the meeting made it clear that these types of lessons have no place in school.
“The state is obsessed with sex. It’s bizarre and creepy, if it wasn’t so perverted and wicked,” said one parent.
The district tried to show the parents that they could have a say in how some of the lessons are taught. Parents are even allowed to opt their children out of the lessons – an option that Gov. Phil Murphy has always said was on the table.
Other parents said that this was the last straw and that they would be pulling their children out of New Jersey’s schools.
“Last week, I officially signed out my youngest daughter from elementary school and we’re participating in a home-schooling pod,” the parent said.
Some parents said that transparency has been a part of the problem.
“I think this has been a misinformation campaign. A lot of it is politics,” says state Sen. Vin Gopal.
The Democrat has blamed Republicans for stoking fears of indoctrination. He introduced a bill that would have forced New Jersey school districts to post specifics about the lessons. But that bill failed to pass in the state Legislature.
Toms River school officials say that the lesson plans will be posted online on Tuesday. The district says it is trying to foster a culture that values all students.
Parent Sam Hanson says she is hoping this is true. She and her wife just bought a house in town.
“I want to be able to send my future children to schools in a town where they’ll be able to learn about families that look like ours and they’ll be proud to talk about their two moms – not shamed,” Hanson says.
Toms River officials say that there is some wiggle room regarding what lessons can be taught, but the state has issued very specific guidelines for the curriculum. More information can be found on the state’s website.