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Parents Outrage at Kinnelon Pearl R. Miller Middle School

Parents have discovered the newly mandated New Jersey school sex education standards that are ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­being implemented in public school districts throughout the state. In June of 2020, the NJ State Dept. of Education (NJDOE), at the encouragement of First Lady Tammy Murphy, permitted Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ advocacy groups such as Garden State Equality, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, GLSEN, SIECUSNJ, NJEA and the ACLU to contribute to the formation of new standards. These standards include topics of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and explain and define sex acts such as masturbation in 5th- grade and anal, oral, and vaginal sex in 8th grade, just to name a few.

NJ school districts were given until the 2022-2023 school year to incorporate the new curriculum. Upon their approval, then NJ State Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet said local school boards would decide which curriculum and material to use to teach the new standards.

But some are wondering where the chain of oversight and accountability broke down recently in the Morris County town of Kinnelon.

Last week, children in 6th-8th grade at Pearl R. Miller Middle School were presented a social studies lesson centered on transgenderism. The lesson included a clip from a video titled “Ten Years on Testosterone” which highlights the challenges of transgender rights activist Aydian Dowling. Dowling is a woman who has transitioned to a man. The point of the video was clearly to show challenges of persons who are uncomfortable with their “assigned sex” and humanize and normalize their dysphoria. A slide set including related vocabulary, such as “binary” and “non-binary”, among the nearly 70 other labels were also discussed.

Parents of 11-14 year-old-children were not notified in advance about the lesson, and when concerned parents reached out to the elected school board members, it became apparent that they were equally unaware of the lesson and content.

After the lesson, parents did receive an email that a future assembly would take place, in which transgendered Aydian Dowling would speak in person to the children on perseverance through challenges. However, it wasn’t until children communicated that they had already been shown a video and discussed vocabulary, that some became concerned about the lack of transparency and consent prior to the introduction of the topic. It is clear that had the students not informed their parents, this assembly would have been mandatory.

Questions remain in Kinnelon, as to the oversight process. The program was approved by superintendent, Ms. Diane DiGiuseppe, however, the specific content of the curriculum was not brought before the town’s elected Board of Education officials. Additionally, the Kinnelon Director of Curriculum, Mrs. Ivonne Ciresi, communicated that the updated NJ sex education learning standards would be implemented in September 2022.

Kinnelon Superintendent Ms. Diane DiGiuseppe

One mother I spoke with said, “My concern is about transparency and parental rights. The school district introduced my child to a topic I do not want taught at school. They didn’t ask me. They did this without my permission. I decide at what age and how much detail my child will receive. As a parent, I have that right.”

According to the NJ Department of Ed. The sex education learning standards instruction will begin in Kindergarten. Several notable “learning objectives” have resulted in parents pushing back. For example…

By the end of 5th grade:

  • “Explain common human sexual development and the role of hormones (e.g. romantic and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings, pubertal onset).”
  • “Differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity.”

By the end of 8th grade:

  • “Describe pregnancy testing, the signs of pregnancy and pregnancy options, including parenting, abortion, and adoption.”
  • “Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.”

One father shared his disapproval. “They are exploiting our children. They intend to sexualize them by teaching sex education beginning in Kindergarten.” Another taxpayer without children called it “emotionally traumatizing to children. None of this dysphoric confusion belongs in our community schools.”

It remains to be seen how the Kinnelon Board of Education will respond to parents seeking parental rights and transparency, against the competing interests of the NJ Department of Education and the agenda to sexualize our children. The recent issue highlights a need for clear understanding as to the authority of local school boards, which in this case was absolutely circumvented. Many have communicated that they will follow up at Kinnelon’s next Board of Education meeting on March 24th.

The Center for Garden State Families was notified and met with nearly two dozen concerned parents regarding the Kinnelon School Districts handling of this dangerous material.