Bergen County Arts & Science Charter School will be one of the first schools to participate in the pilot program for the new state LGBTQ curriculum.
The LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum Law was signed by Governor Phil Murphy last year. The law mandates that New Jersey middle and high schools teach the history and contributions of LGBTQ people. As Don Romesburg, a Sonoma State University professor of women’s and gender studies said, the curriculum is not just about token references to LGBTQ figures, but rather “teaching how systems of gender and sexuality change over time and how people respond to that.”
The Bergen County charter school was involved in controversy earlier in the year when administrators covered up a student’s LGBTQ pride mural that featured a rainbow heart and figures from the work of artist Keith Haring. The mural was removed at the request of the school’s landlord Holy Trinity Church of Hackensack. The school was chosen to participate in the curriculum pilot as part of a “restorative practice dialogue” held after the mural incident between BCASCS and Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in NJ. Garden State Equality will help develop the curriculum and introduce it to instructors.
The pilot for the curriculum begins next fall. It will be implemented in all New Jersey schools for the 2020-2021 school year.