A Republican state senator introduced a parents’ rights bill in New Jersey Monday.
New Jersey State Senator Edward Durr introduced Senate Bill 2648 into the legislative record on Monday. The bill prohibits schools from teaching courses on sex and gender identity for students in grades K-6. It also requires students in grades 7-12 to obtain parents’ permission before receiving instruction on such topics.
The text of the bill reads in part:
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 further states that if a student receives instruction on sex and gender in violation of the bill, their parents or guardians can bring civil action against the school district. Additionally, if a school district or a district employee, such as a teacher, violates the law, the bill empowers the New Jersey Attorney General to seek an injunction against either.
The bill also empowers the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to withhold state funding from a district that violates the bill, until such time as the commissioner finds that the district is no longer in violation. If passed and signed into law, the bill would take effect in the first full school year after signing.
Durr announced that he would be proposing the law 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 said in a statement 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 added. “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 also co-sponsored two bills authored by fellow Republican State Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Testa earlier this year: one would prohibit New Jersey schools from teaching Critical Race Theory; the other would remove the requirement to teach diversity and inclusion classes in grades K-8, classes which would be introduced beginning in the 2022-23 school year. None of the three bills are likely to pass in New Jersey’s Democratic State Legislature.