Earlier this month, New Jersey followed California, becoming the second state in the union to require schools to teach about LGBTQ history.
Under the new law, public school teachers must include lessons about the political, social and economic contributions of gay and transgender people. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the measure Thursday, according to CNN.
The governor said he was “honored” to sign the legislation, which was modeled after California’s measure, which passed in 2011, and makes teaching “about the rich contributions and accomplishments of our LGBTQ community and those with disabilities” mandatory.
In a tweet about the new requirement, Murphy said students “deserve to know” about the societal contributions of LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ+ history is part of our shared story, and students deserve to know it. Proud to sign a bill that makes New Jersey the second state in the nation to require an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in our schools. https://t.co/PuOxTbrzgI
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 1, 2019
“The governor believes that ensuring students learn about diverse histories will help build more tolerant communities and strengthen educations outcomes,” said Christine Lee, a spokeswoman for Murphy.
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, praised Murphy for signing the measure, NBC News reported. He said it’s “critical” for teachers to educate students on “the achievements of LGBTQ people throughout history.”
He added, “Our youth deserve to see how diverse American history truly is — and how they can be a part of it one day, too.”
The New Jersey chapter of the national LGBTQ student advocacy group GLSEN also praised the educational mandate.
"By teaching about lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual communities in schools, students will feel more connected, which will help their mental health and ability to learn, said Kathryn Dixon, policy coordinator for @GLSENNNJ." https://t.co/L2MnBK66hT
— GLSEN (@GLSEN) February 4, 2019
But it wasn’t all praise for the new requirement in the Garden State.
Len Deo, founder and president of the right-leaning New Jersey Family Policy Council, criticized the mandate, claiming it infringes on parents’ rights.
“We believe it further erodes the right of parents to discuss this sensitive issue with their children,” Deo said, “if in fact schools are going to be promoting and making the claim that this particular person was an LGBTQ member.”