Garden State Equality rep helps WOSD prepare to implement new state law

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange School District has begun working with Garden State Equality in preparation for the 2020-21 school year and the implementation of S1569, a new law adopted in New Jersey on Jan. 31 that requires schools to “include instruction, and adopt instructional materials, that accurately portray political, economic and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

The law requires that all public middle and high schools teach curriculum in alignment with S1569’s requirements. On Nov. 11, Safe Schools coordinator for Garden State Equality Cole Callahan met with faculty at Liberty Middle School to provide an overview of the training and materials that will be made available to staff and students. GSE is also participating in writing the curriculum.

Roosevelt Middle School has also begun meeting with GSE; Edison Middle School and West Orange High School will follow.

During the presentation, Callahan shared a quote “Dare to Lead,” by Brene Brown: “People are opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusivity because they fear looking wrong, saying something wrong, or being wrong. Choosing our own comfort over hard conversations is the epitome of privilege, and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change.”

New Jersey is now the second state, after California, to require schools to adopt an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. California’s Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act took effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD

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