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South Jersey Democratic Senators: Protecting Children & Giving Parents A Voice Are Not Mutually Exclusive

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Trenton – Senators Troy Singleton, Jim Beach, Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Fred Madden issued the following statement today:

“The ongoing politicization of health education standards here in our state by certain groups have sowed the seeds of divisiveness in our communities. This approach has distracted us from two very important points that we wholeheartedly believe in: (1) that ALL children should feel comfortable and welcome in our schools, and (2) that parents must continue to have the authority to make decisions about their child’s well-being.

“Simply put, protecting ALL our children, and giving parents a voice in their education is not mutually exclusive and courtroom battles will not resolve the larger issue.

“The New Jersey Department of Education curriculum standards are designed to promote inclusion and belonging, while highlighting the unique and rich diversity of our state. Additionally, the standards help our children understand they have control over their own bodies, empower them to make informed decisions, and communicate and educate them on health risks.

“We remind parents that they continue to have authority over whether they want their children to be present for these lessons. Currently, under New Jersey law, parents have the option to opt their children out of lessons that conflict with their personal values or beliefs, and this has not changed.

“Today’s political climate has unnecessarily made public education hyper-partisan. However, the shared futures of our children are too important for us to allow ANY group, governmental or non-governmental, to alienate or discriminate against our children. Further, the misinformation campaigns are distracting parents from the fact that they continue to have the ultimate authority and responsibility over the growth and development of their children. A fact that we wholeheartedly support.”