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Marlboro parents have options for children in new sex ed curriculum

MARLBORO – As the 2022-23 school year begins, the state will implement a new sex education curriculum in New Jersey’s school districts.

According to the website nj.gov, the goal of the new sex education curriculum is for “all students to acquire the knowledge and skills of what is most essential to become individuals who possess health and physical literacy and pursue a life of wellness by developing the habits necessary to live healthy, productive lives that positively impact their families, schools and communities.”

The issue was discussed during a recent meeting of the Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education by Assistant Superintendent Michael Ballone.

He said in the new curriculum, there are lesson plans that are appropriate for each band of grades.

In Marlboro, the grades are grouped as follows: kindergarten through second grade; third grade through fifth grade; and sixth grade through eighth grade.

Within each group, according to Ballone, certain standards that were causing concern were removed from kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grades and moved to the fifth grade curriculum.

Students in the third through fifth grades were expected to learn the difference between sexual orientation. Ballone said that lesson has been shifted to the fifth grade curriculum only.

District administrators said students and parents may opt into or out of certain aspects of the new curriculum.

As of now, students and parents may log in to their Genesis Parent Portal. They will be prompted to review information and will choose whether their children will opt into or out of specific curriculum.

If a student’s forms are not signed with either option, a phone call will be made to the home to make sure the child’s parents are aware of the situation.

If no further action is taken, the student will automatically be opted in to being taught the curriculum. Students will not be able to access their bus schedule or their teacher list until the forms are signed, according to district administrators.

“Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it is essential that the mental health and well-being of each and every child be a priority,” Ballone said in a note that was sent to parents in August.

Parents asked where students who opt out of a specific sex education lesson will be sent while the lesson is being conducted.

Administrators said that has yet to be determined, but said those students will not have attention drawn to them.

The sex education curriculum is not scheduled to be taught until the spring, but administrators have asked students and parents to make their decisions regarding opting in or opting out before school starts.

Classes in the Marlboro K-8 district will begin on Sept. 6. Administrators said there will be no COVID-19 protocols in place for the upcoming school year.

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