Middletown School District to have parents ‘opt in’ to new sex ed curriculum this fall

The Middletown School District will be one of the first districts in New Jersey to require parents to opt their children into a new health and sexual education curriculum this fall.
The controversial curriculum includes mandated lessons on gender identity, sex abuse and anatomy for children as young as first grade. Some parents have taken issue with the new 66-page curriculum guide, saying that the lessons are too advanced for some students.
“I don’t believe at certain ages things should be taught by the government or school officials. I think that’s the home’s job,” says parent Megan Rivera.
Many school districts will allow parents to opt out of these lessons. But Middletown is taking a different approach.
“This is something to make sure parents do have all the information regarding this curriculum, understanding exactly what their students are learning, the resources available, and in this context, what the students would be taught,” says Kate Farley, chair of the curriculum committee for the Middletown Board of Education.
Farley says the district has put together what it calls an “age-appropriate” curriculum that is also compliant with the new state standards. Children will need parental approval before they can attend those classes.
“This is going to be something that every parent in the district will receive. I believe the way they are envisioning doing it is…in the beginning of the school year a form will come home. And the options will be to either opt your child into the entire curriculum, opt them out of the entire curriculum or opt into specific units,” Farley says.
Students who do not participate in the curriculum will attend different classes. The details are still being worked out, but it would be a different type of health or physical education class.
More information about the state’s new curriculum can be found on the state’s Department of Education website.