Signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey has become the second state to require public schools to teach LGBT history material.
New Jersey boards of education must adopt instruction that accurately portrays “the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, where appropriate,” according to the text of the law.
The material will be in the social studies and american history curricula for middle and high schools beginning with the 2020-’21 academic year. Each board of education will institute procedures regarding the selection of material and how lesson changes will be put into effect.
Governor Murphy said he was “honored” to sign a bill that will make teaching “about the rich contributions and accomplishments of our LGBTQ community and those with disabilities” mandatory.
“The Governor believes that ensuring students learn about diverse histories will help build more tolerant communities and strengthen educational outcomes,” Murphy’s office said in a statement.
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, an original sponsor of the bill, was one of two openly gay members of the legislature at the time.
“We often see in classrooms across the country the bullying of LGBT students, and this is a way they can incorporate into the curriculum that there are gay Americans that have made vast contributions to this nation,” Gusciora said. “This is a way of encouraging students who feel that they’re outcasts that they too can make a contribution to American society.”
The law does not apply to private schools.