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Twelve schools in New Jersey are set to learn about LGBTQ history and more.

According to LGTBQ advocacy group Garden State Equality, these schools will be participating in a pilot program that features a curriculum with “a robust set of lesson plans that will teach the next generation of youth about the political, social, and economic contributions of LGBTQ people.” The press release further states that the lessons are made to be relevant across several subject areas, not just history.

Garden State Equality Safe Schools & Community Education manager Ashley Chiappano said: “Our youth deserve to see themselves reflected in the classroom, and we know the work we’re doing is going to change the lives of LGBTQ students for the better.”

The 12 participating schools are:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Asbury Park
  • Forrestdale School in Rumson
  • Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School (middle and high school)
  • Highland Park Middle School
  • Highland Park High School
  • Millburn Middle School
  • Newark Arts High School
  • Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Tuckerton
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter High School in Hackensack
  • Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point
  • Unity Charter School in Morristown

The program will start in the fall, with Garden State Equality also offering the curriculum for free in other New Jersey districts.

While this is a first for the Garden State, it is not the first state to include LGBTQ history in the curriculum. Back in 2011, California required schools to teach LGBTQ history. Colorado and Illinois also did the same in 2019. New Jersey brings the number of states with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum to four.

However, there are also a number of states that have laws actively prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality.” These states are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. Sexual education or health classes in these states are prohibited from discussing LGBTQ people and topics in a positive light.

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