This past Monday, one Republican state senator brought to the floor a new parents’ rights bill out in New Jersey.
Edward Durr, the state senator from New Jersey, brought forth Senate Bill 2648 into the legislative record. This new bill outright prohibits schools from teaching courses on gender identity and sex for students in grades k-6. It also requires all students in the grades of 7-12 to obtain permission from their parents well before they are given any sort of instruction on these topics.
The actual text of the bill, in part, reads:
A school district shall not include, as part of a course of instruction, information on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in grades kindergarten through six as part of the school district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.
A school district shall not provide instruction for students in grades seven through 12 that includes information on sexual orientation or gender identity without receiving prior written consent from the student’s parent or guardian. Any student whose parent or guardian does not provide prior written consent shall be excused from that portion of the course where such instruction is provided and no penalties as to credit or graduation shall result therefrom.
The bill itself further goes on to state that if the student gets instruction on gender and sex that is in violation of the new bill, their parents or guardians will have the right to bring civil action against the school district as a whole. Additionally, if a district employee or the school district, such as a teacher, stands in violation of the law, this new bill would let the New Jersey Attorney General to try and go for an injunction against either.
The bill also gives power to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to pull all state funding from any district that chooses to violate the new bill, until such time as the commissioner themselves finds that the district is no longer violating the rule. If this is passed and then signed into law, the new bill would take go into effect at the start of the next school year in the wake of signing.
Durr also announced that he would be bringing forth this new law in comments back in April. “I highly doubt that New Jersey parents would want their children to learn about gender identity and sexual orientation in elementary school,” he stated via a release at the time. “The new curriculum being foisted on us by the Murphy Administration is not only absurd and unnecessary, but it is incredibly insulting to every parent in the state. My legislation will reverse the implementation of these new sex education standards and allow parents to determine if and when such curriculum should be offered to their children.”
“I have heard from countless parents throughout South Jersey who have expressed anger and frustration in response to this new curriculum. They genuinely feel that their parental rights are being ignored by the Murphy Administration—something that is difficult to dispute,” Durr continued. “Gender identity and sexual orientation are complicated subjects and I don’t think you will find a rational person in this country that thinks teaching such subjects to first- and second-grade students is a good idea.”
Durr is also a co-sponsor for a pair of bills that are authored by fellow Republican State Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Testa earlier this year: one of which would ban New Jersey schools from teaching Critical Race Theory; and the other would drop the requirement to teach inclusion and diversity training in grades k-8, classes which would be started for the 2022-23 school year. Currently, none of these bills are very likely to make it through the current State Legislature of the Democratically held state of New Jersey.