Parents say children’s innocence is at stake if new sex-ed standards stay

Republican lawmakers held an independent hearing on Tuesday regarding the state’s new sex education standards.

News 12 Staff

Aug 23, 2022, 10:44 PM

Updated 659 days ago


Republican lawmakers held an independent hearing on Tuesday regarding the state’s new sex education standards. Many parents say that their rights are being violated as school districts move forward with the lesson plans.
“My children’s innocence will soon follow if a change is not made,” said Emerson resident Amanda Riccardi during the hearing.
Some parents who spoke during the virtual hearing made their anger and frustrations known.
“I want the government to get off my back and off my family and off my dining room table,” said Charlotte Colon, of Emerson.
Critics of the new standards say it is inappropriate for the students and could lead to sexual abuse.
“We are seeing, what is in my view, a sexual indoctrination of children as young as 4 and 5 years old,” said Republican state Sen. Joe Pennacchio.
But a Democratic state senator says that Republican lawmakers are playing politics with parental concerns.
“They have yet to point to a single school district – they can’t name one – where inappropriate material is being taught in the classroom,” says state Sen. Vin Gopal.
Gopal takes issue, not with the parents, but with rival politicians he says are sabotaging his bill to require districts to post curricula online.
“Most well-meaning people know that they are just lying to try and get votes and try to scare people,” Gopal says. “So I think it's dangerous. I think what they're doing to the teaching industry as a whole is horrific.
Gopal says there are also Democrats in what he calls “safe districts” that are not committed to voting for his bill. He says he isn't sure if it would survive a vote in the full state Senate if state Senate President Nick Scutari put it on the floor.
“At the bottom of the day, the tentacles of Trenton are going everywhere,” Colon said.
Republicans want to repeal and replace the state standards.
Who has your child's best interests in mind? When they're sick, who takes care of them? Who worries about them, who plans out their life and their educational process? Is it you or the government?” Pennacchio asked.
Gopal’s bill passed the state Senate and state Assembly education committees in May but has not advanced since then.

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