Fort Lee Parents Debate Curriculum, Claim Inclusive Teaching “Breaks Down” Society

The recent meeting of the Fort Lee School Board became a hotspot for discussions on the district’s health and gender curricula, revealing a divide in perspectives among parents and community members.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, a parent took issue with what she referred to as the introduction of queer theory, especially in relation to gender topics for second graders. She expressed reservations about the terms LGBTQIA+, alleging they could be part of a “push to break down the family and society.” She further claimed that many ideas in queer theory were developed by individuals who “hate the United States of America.”

Another resident voiced her concerns, particularly about the teaching of topics like puberty to younger students. While acknowledging the necessity of sex education in middle and high school, she felt younger students should be shielded from certain subjects, suggesting that children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood without the intrusion of complex adult themes.

Another parent voiced his apprehensions about a recently introduced gender-neutral curriculum by the New Jersey Board of Education. He took issue with the potential removal of traditional gender references like “mom” and “dad.” He also raised questions about policy 5756, which deals with gender identity and pronoun changes, and its potential impact on younger students. In response, a board representative mentioned the need to revisit the recent gender-neutral curriculum announcement and indicated that changes would be incorporated into a policy update for the board’s consideration.

One attendee, however, took a different stance. He passionately advocated for policy 5756, which aims to protect students dealing with gender identity issues. Pointing out the very real dangers such children face when their gender identity is disclosed, he mentioned instances where children suffer severe abuse or even fatal consequences. Wolf urged attendees to support the policy and to foster a nurturing environment for all children, regardless of their gender identity.

Despite the strong views expressed, the board clarified that the current health curriculum adheres to the state standards.

Separately, the meeting also touched upon other topics, including the importance of parental involvement, the commendable service of a custodian, Roberto Reyes, and support for a food drive led by the Youth Council of Fort Lee. There was also praise for upgrades to the Middle School basketball floor.

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