Howell Schools Address New Sex Education Curriculum

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  HOWELL – Howell Township Public School District released a statement regarding the public’s concerns about the controversial comprehensive health and physical education curriculum, with officials saying there has been some misinformation put out on social media.

  Many parents across the state have expressed their anger over the new standards, which involves the teaching of gender identity to younger children.

  When the news broke, officials stated the documents are only models and not requirements for schools to teach.

  Ira Thor, Howell Township Board of Education member, said the district published a letter regarding the concerns around the subject.

  “The topics of sexual and health education and how they are addressed in school curriculum have become widely discussed among parents from all political and social spectrums. And for good reason. Many people have their concerns on this issue. Concerned citizenry and informed citizenry are vital to our democracy,” Thor said in a statement online. “I understand this is a hot topic here in Howell Township… Our district sent out a letter addressing the concerns.”

  In the letter, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Curriculum Bruce Preston explained that at the end of the day the district is responsible for creating the curriculum.

  “The language in these standards is generic. It focuses on identifying gender roles and treating all children, regardless of gender, with respect. Please note that while we are required to include all standards outlined by the state, our district determines how to create the curriculum and how to teach the required standards,” Preston wrote. “We are not given a curriculum guide, mandated resources, or a program by the state or any organization, nor are we given lessons by anyone outside of the HTPS that must be implemented. Our teachers, guided by the HTPS Supervisors of Health and Physical Education and myself, determine the lessons that will be created and implemented with the age and grade level of the students in mind.”

  Preston further stated that any specific lessons seen on social media or in the news are not lessons HTPS has created. Additionally, the state does not require them to teach these lessons.

  “It is important to note that the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education are written in a very specific format… Some standards are designated to be taught by the end of grade 12. Since we are only a K-8 district, we would not address those standards as they are not pertinent to our K-8 district. We also would not teach a standard for the grade 6-8 band to a second grader,” Preston said.

  Preston advised parents that they are allowed to opt their child out of specific lessons or portions of the health curriculum directly related to the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards. “Given the amount of misinformation out there and questions that have been arising, we wanted to ensure the information you have is directly from the District. Should you have any questions, please contact my office,” Preston said.