Parents concerned about the new state-mandated sex education curriculum have an opportunity to speak tonight at Toms River.
Although this is billed as a board, the school board welcomes parents to discuss the new curriculum at Tom’s River North High School.
Superintendent Michael Citta wants to hear parents’ voices and wants to provide a safe and welcoming environment for his students. Some material has been vetted, but all parent input is welcome.
Superintendents say the most controversial area among parents concerns lessons for younger students.
Lessons include materials for different age groups. For example, sophomores learn hygiene practices, stress, and basic breeding.
Classes for Grade 5 include education on puberty, pregnancy, sexuality and gender identity and propensity.
By the end of 8th grade, students learn about the stages of pregnancy, sound decisions about sex, and participation of all people in school and community. By graduation, students are taught practices for avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, as well as gender identity. Or orientation, and how state and federal laws provide access to sexual health care for minors.
The superintendent has heard from many families who want to teach these lessons but feel that they may not be the best way to do them in the classroom. As an extension, it’s about embracing every child’s needs, but doing it in an open way of communicating.
School districts will be able to create lessons specific to their community. Toms River provides parents with an opt-out option using a permit. Parents can also request materials that teach the subject to their children at home.
The goal is to provide a welcoming and safe learning environment for all students and to ensure that students are at a comfortable level within the classroom during these discussions.
Workshop discussion will begin at 6pm.