State Sex Ed. Curriculum Criticized at City Council Meeting

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New state standards that include more explicit sex education have angered parents and other members of the Ocean City community. (Photo courtesy of Depositphotos.com)

By MADDY VITALE

Ocean City residents attend a city council meeting to urge the board to oppose the school board’s approval of a curriculum that includes new explicit sex-ed materials that some critics call it “soft porn”, “disgusting” and “borderline porn”.

The Ocean City Board of Education, in a 6-5 vote Wednesday, approved New Jersey’s 2020 Health and Physical Education Standards.

Councilman Tom Rotondi, who attended the school board meeting, said the more he learned about the revised curriculum, the more worried he was. Fellow adviser Bob Barr agreed.

Although there is an opt-out option, Rotondi and other parents worry that their students will still learn the program because they would hear about it from their friends and classmates.

At a city council meeting Thursday night, Rotondi urged the governing body to pass a resolution at the next council meeting in favor of the state bill known as the Parents Bill of Rights Act.

In April 2022, Cape May County Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the state’s revised standards for sex education due to “lack of transparency” as well as “age inappropriateness of certain content.

“When the county signed and passed a resolution supporting the Parents’ Bill of Rights, I thought it was prudent for the Town of Ocean City to stand with them,” Rotondi said.

He added that the state is “overstepping its bounds” with the program and essentially “pushing it down our throats.”

Video courtesy of Ocean City and Martin Fiedler of Just Right TV Productions

“I have people saying I’m irrelevant and should be worried about the council I was elected to, but I’m a parent first and I care about my kids,” noted Rounded. “And with the little, tiny power that I have in this seat, I want to raise awareness.”

At the same Council meeting, Barr said he favored passing a resolution showing his support for the Parents’ Bill of Rights because “the bill lets parents know what’s going on. “.

Like the other speakers, Barr said he was overwhelmed by the revised sex-ed curriculum.

“I’m no prude, but some of this stuff is absolutely disgusting,” Barr said. “Parents should be given the opportunity to know in advance what their child will learn, especially since some of them are so explicit and, in my opinion, borderline pornography.”

Liz Nicoletti, Catherine Panico, Cape May County Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, all residents of Ocean City and a host of other community stakeholders told the school board on Wednesday what they thought of the program. revised.

Cape May County Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, a parent and Ocean City resident, is angered by the council’s affirmative vote on the program.

Hayes noted in a statement she read to the Board of Education that she sees many problems with the state’s new standards.

“What I see with these new standards is the complete lack of transparency and lack of respect for parents,” she said. “These standards were adopted in the midst of a pandemic at a time when parents were working to survive financially, and their lives were turned upside down.”

And the next evening, Panico and Nicoletti addressed the city council.

He opens Pandora’s box. It’s soft porn. It’s really sick,” Panico said, adding that even with the opt-out option, the child’s peers could share the information.

Nicoletti, who speaks frequently at Board of Education meetings about her opposition to the new curriculum, said it made her “really upset”.

“The website is disgusting,” she said of the curriculum on the state Board of Education’s website. “I fight against that. I fought against that.

She added that the program will create a negative ripple effect in the community.

In a statement released Thursday, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Friedman further explained the revised curriculum.

“We have modified our physical and health education curriculum with a team of teachers and administrators in an effort to meet minimum requirements,” Friedman said in the statement. “We have done thoughtful revisions and want our school families to be involved.”

Health and physical education standards are posted on the district website for parents to view at oceancityschools.org.

The amended curriculum and supporting documents will be posted in September. Teachers are preparing lessons to meet these new learning goals in an age-appropriate way, according to the school’s statement.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Friedman, right, School Board President Dr. Patrick Kane, center, and Vice President Joe Clark listen to audience members during Wednesday’s meeting.
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