Featured Image Above: During the past two weeks, hundreds of parents and other residents in Ocean City, NJ turned out to protest the recent 6 to 5 vote the elected Ocean City Board of Education to adopt state “health” standards that introduce young children in public schools to “highly sexualized materials” and which normalize abnormal behavior.
The six Board Members who voted for the standards and against the parents were: Patrick Kane, Joseph Clark, Chris Halliday, Charles Roche, William Sooy and Ryan Leonard.
The five who voted with the parents were: Cecelia Gallelli-Keys, Disston Vanderslice, Gregory Whelan, Jacqueline McAlister, and Will Holmes.
The three candidates for School Board in this November’s election who support the parents and oppose the new standards are: Robin Shaffer, Cathy Panico, and Liz Nicoletti. The New voted for the new standards, and against the parents.
School Board Elections are now on the regular November ballot. School Board Elections important. Elections have consequences.
“Vote on N.J. ‘Health Standards’ Was Disappointing and Alarming. Here is Why Members Should Reconsider”
The following letter by Ocean City resident John Henry was delivered to each member of the Ocean City, N.J. Board of Education. It was also published by the Ocean City Sentinel on September 7, 2022.
To The Ocean City Board of Education:
Your vote to adopt the “2020 NJ Health and Physical Education Student Learning Standards (SLS) on August 24 was disappointing and alarming to hundreds of parents in the Ocean City School District. Parents who oppose teaching our children agree with Cape May County Commissioners who passed a resolution opposing the SLS due to its “lack of transparency” and “age inappropriateness of certain content”.
On the night you voted, nobody spoke publicly in favor of those “standards”. You did not take time for deliberation after listening to several parents and community leaders give passionate, respectful, and thoughtful objections to those “standards”. Inexplicably, most of you appear to agree that much of those “standards” are offensive and inappropriate. What made this decision even more alarming was the speedy placement of an unelected and temporary appointee to cast the deciding vote. Why? You owe the parents and the community a response!
- Did you think you had no other option? Did you think approval of those “standards” was necessary to keep state funding? Those SLS “standards” have been rejected in 13 other N.J. school districts. They understand that Section 6A:98-3.1(a)1 of the NJ Administrative Code requires state government to provide “support materials that suggest a variety of strategies that may assist in the development of local curricula aligned with the NJ Student and Learning Standards”.
- Did you think, after adopting these new “standards” that we will always have local control? Dr. Lauren Gunther’s presentation about how teachers might control the narrative in the classroom is helpful. However, the actual “scripts” teachers must use are not yet available to parents. Despite the hard work to revise or redact, the new “standards” are now officially approved for implementation. After you are gone, new administrators and board members may be impelled by outside forces to fully implement the new “standards”.
- Did you think this process was transparent and inclusive? Changing standards for teaching our children deserves honest, direct, and empathetic dialogue. Currently, however, dialogue of any kind is against the policy of Board of Education meetings in Ocean City. At the very least, being transparent requires that you deliberate and explain the reasons for your votes.
- Have you been intimidated by the NJEA (NJ “Education” Association/Teacher’s Union)? When concerned parents publicly oppose the sexualization of their children, the NJEA responds by accusing them of being “extreme”. The NJEA’s support for the SLS, while encouraging teachers to take a side against parents is a horrible example of destroying healthy relationships. Have you been threatened by anyone in any way if you did not vote for these new “standards”?
- Do you think that an Opt-Out is a suitable solution? Requiring parents and guardians to request that their children “Opt-Out” will remove those children from the classroom. However, it does not shield those children from lunchroom talk about sex or protect them from being bullied for being “ignorant”. We should do all we can to protect all children from a sexualized curriculum and from bullying. Ironically, the standards which claim to be designed to foster healthy relationships will cause far more harm than good. What students really need are living examples of healthy relationships from parents, teachers, administrators. . . and Board of Education members.
- Did you think that adoption of these “standards” will impact the college acceptance of our graduates? Colleges do not accept students based on high school ratings. The recently popular ranking of high schools based on the number of students in Advanced placement courses does not measure the quality of education. We are told that ourdistrict’s selrf-evaluation system, the QSAC score, may fall 4 points if we reject the new SLS “standards”. That score will not affect the quality of our teachers, administration, or curriculum. In fact, the decision to reject the new SLS is more likely to improve our schools! It would set us apart from the overreach of NJ State sponsored sexualization of our young children.
- Did you not understand the gravity of your vote and the dangers of the new SLS “standards”? You may think the SLS is necessary to protect children with gender confusion and to provide tools for living in an age where gender fluidity is the norm. Much of the SLS is important to the academic, social, emotional, and personal development of students. However, there is danger in the instruction of gender fluidity, various sexual activities, and genitalia to grade school children–especially those who have not yet reached puberty. It is a fireable offense to speak of these things at most workplaces, and it is illegal for an adult to teach these things to such children.
- Gender dysphoria is exceedingly rare. Gender dysphoria is a condition for those who possess severe discomfort in one’s biological sex. It affects only 0.01 percent of the population. Why should we require a second grader to “discuss the range of ways people express their gender”? (This is required in section 2.1.2.SSH.2 of the new “standards”).
- Gender confusion is spreading. It has become a social contagion, especially among young girls. Abigail Shrier, the author of Irreversible Damage, reports that in 2007, there was just one pediatric clinic for gender confusion in the United States. Now there are more than 300. She said “Depending on the state, Planned Parenthood gives testosterone to female minors on the first visit. Double mastectomy, known as top surgery, is readily available.
- The six majority Board members did not review the implications of its decision in light of the community’s comments. They did not explain their votes. Superintendent Matthew Friedman recommended “Yes” votes for the SLS standards. He appeared honorable in his commitment to “make revisions thoughtfully so that school families are involved”. Good intentions notwithstanding, the majority executed the vote in a highly questionable and perhaps unethical manner. (Before voting on the “standards”, the Board went into a long executive session to exclude the public. It then appointed and quickly swore in Ryan Leonard as a temporary, substitute Board Member to cast the deciding “yes” vote). We cannot ignore the lack of transparency and the failure to represent the community when an unelected and temporary appointee casts the deciding vote.
- For those reasons, Dr. Patrick Kane, Joseph Clark, Chris Halliday, Dr. Charles Roche, William Sooy, and Ryan Leonard should reconsider their “yes” votes for these new SLS “standards”. They should immediately act to condemn the SLS and repeal their decision. We ask them to do the right thing and put our children first.
John Henry, Ocean City, NJ
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