12 New Jersey schools to begin teaching LGBTQ history under pilot program

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Representatives from 12 New Jersey schools were in Elizabeth Tuesday to get briefed on new LGBTQ history lessons that will be added to their daily curriculum.

All schools in the Garden State will add the new lessons come September. But these 12 schools are participating in a pilot program now to test out the material.

“We do a little bit, but we don’t do enough,” says Brian McGuire, the principal for the Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts in Atlantic County.

The pilot program was organized by the advocacy group Garden State Equality. The 12 schools participating include: 

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Asbury Park
  • Forrestdale School in Rumson
  • Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School (middle and high school)
  • Highland Park School
  • Millburn Middle School
  • Newark Arts High School
  • Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Tuckerton
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter Middle School in Hackensack
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter High School in Hackensack
  • Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point
  • Unity Charter School in Morristown

“We applied to continue our mission of being inclusive of all kids. We call our students artists,” says McGuire. “Our artists know what we celebrate diversity and that’s what I’m most proud of for our school and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to be involved and continue on that mission.”

RELATED: Mayor defends calling LGBTQ history curriculum ‘an affront to Almighty God’ 
RELATED: Public calls for school board member to resign after anti-LGBT remarks 

Garden State Equality community education manager Ashley Chiappano says that the chosen schools were schools that felt that they needed additional help.

The pilot program now will be a way for Garden State Equality to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t work before the full curriculum takes effect in September.

“In our math and science, it’s really making sure that we’re talking about things like using inclusive language when teaching those math and science lessons,” says Chiappano. “In history and social studies, talking about the movement in history, but more importantly, talking about how laws have changed, how things have changed, not only in our state, but across the country.”

Gov. Phil Murphy signed this into law almost a year ago. The law also includes lessons about the contributions made by those with disabilities as well.

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