LONG VALLEY, NJ – Concerns of Long Valley parents regarding the implementation of certain standards of the Washington Township Schools Sex Education Curriculum for K-8 students are being addressed by Superintendent Peter Turnamian and school board members.
At a recent board meeting, council officials approved revisions to the comprehensive health and physical education curriculum for grades 6-8, which included information on parental rights and district opt-out policy.
According to the agenda for tonight’s board meeting, Aug. 10, the board intends to approve similar revisions for all Long Valley elementary schools.
The agenda outlines the health curriculum standards for K-5 students. According to the syllabus sheets, Kevin Churchill, Kathleen Erbe and Patti Ressland edited the health section under the supervision of Deborah Russo, director of curriculum and instruction.
The curriculum for each grade level is designed to build on each other as students progress through the grade levels.
Students in kindergarten through first grade will study topics such as personal safety, stress management, conflict resolution, and social and family dynamics in the revised curriculum.
In the health program listed, students will be introduced to the topic of pregnancy and reproduction in a simple way in the second year. Students will learn the definition of reproduction as well as the difference between reproduction and parenthood between humans and animals, according to the standards of the program.
Third-grade standards include the concept of “social and sexual health,” which teaches students the value of communicating with adults and with themselves. This section also includes a lesson on bullying and the distinction between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
The subject of puberty is introduced in the fourth and fifth grades, with a discussion of the biological reasons for puberty as well as the resulting social and physical changes. Students will also learn about gender differences and how gender stereotypes can affect both themselves and others. Fifth grade students will learn to feel welcomed and included regardless of their gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
More in-depth details about the lesson plans for K-5 curriculum reviews are posted on the Washington Township Schools website.
“The mission and vision of comprehensive physical and health education reflects this perspective: Mission: Knowledge of the concepts and skills of physical and health education enables students to take lifelong responsibility for developing a well- be physical, social and emotional,” Russo said.
In response to state sex-ed standards, the Morris County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution this month calling on the state to ban the programs and create a bill of rights parents.
The resolution calls on Governor Murphy, the state legislature, and the Department of Education to return these programs to local school boards and to repeal and discontinue the 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for comprehensive physical and health education.
Turnamian previously said any changes to the health program will be fully explained to parents and transparency will be provided to all members of the community when the district makes decisions.
The next board meeting is scheduled for August 10, with public sessions beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Long Valley Middle School – Performing Arts Center.