Parents, advocates clash over ‘culture war’ topics at state Board of Ed meeting
Hundreds of parents, educators and advocates clashed in Trenton on Wednesday for the state’s Board of Education public meeting. It was the first of this school year's three open public testimony sessions - and that meant no topic was off limits.
Topics ranged from LGBTQ+ issues to banned books.
“Educate our kids, don't indoctrinate them,” said parent Michael Curry.
“It is a scary time to be a school library media specialist,” said Mary Moyer Stubbs, of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.
The groups who attended the meeting also had a major disagreement over a recent state Board vote on an equity code to update regulations to remove references to two genders.
“There's been no issues. There is no reason to change the equity standards just because a small group of parents who are misinformed by conservative groups that are funding campaigns to spread misinformation,” said Christian Fuscarino, of Garden State Equality.
“This Chapter 7 violates the rights of those who do not agree with the Woke Agenda that you are trying to indoctrinate our children with,” said parent Anna Vazquez.
Outside the meeting, state troopers were forced to separate quarreling camps and keep safe access to the public meeting open. While inside, many turned their ire on the state Board of Education - some appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Are you OK ruining a generation of children? Because that is exactly what you are doing,” said Curry.
“It'll make schools less safe for LGBTQ students and for all students generally,” Fuscarino said.
The next public board meeting is set for Oct. 4. The two other “open topic” public testimony sessions the Board will hold are scheduled for January and May 2024.