Hosts Historic Education Summit with Multiethnic New Jersey Parents
At a widely attended Education Summit and Press Conference held on October 22, 2021, American Hindu Coalition (AHC) endorsed GOP Nominee Jack Ciattarelli for Governor of New Jersey. AHC New Jersey Chapter leadership included Hiren Gandhi, State Director, Sadiqa Bokhari, Events and Education Platform Director, and Dr. Chetan Shah, Committee Member.
The highlight of this conference was a historic multi-ethnic, multimedia Education Summit led by Jack Ciattarelli on Election 2021’s top voter interest – “Parental Prerogative and NJ Education K-12” and the parents’ panic over NJ State Bill A4454 signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, who is the Democrat Nominee running for reelection. Panelists participating in the discussion included Rosy Thakkar, Puneet Kaur, Mariam Gandour, Niki Awoleye, with Priti Pandya Patel as the moderator.
“It pains me greatly that parents today,” remarked Jack Ciattarelli, “specifically first-generation families, who come here believing in the public school system, who are paying all those property taxes, cannot send their children off to school with confidence.”
Effective as of March 1, 2021, the law, titled “Diversity and Inclusion,” clearly does not do what it purports. Instead, there is widespread confusion and alarm among School Boards and School Administrations alike regarding the law’s directive to incorporate into the school curriculum “gender identity, gender expression, and sex education” making it mandatory for grades 9-12 and instructional for K-8 grades. The potential engagement of children as young as five in a curricular discussion of such sensitive topics as gender expression and gender identity has particularly shocked parents in minority communities across New Jersey.
“This law is nowhere close to inclusion…instead it’s all things exclusion! If we have parental controls for movies, then why not on your kids’ education? Five-year-olds should be taught to just include everyone and not be tangled in these labels!” exclaimed Puneet Kaur, a parent and Indian community leader.
“What happened to the kitchen table discussion with parents? Is there anything that we can do differently on this because I don’t think any parent will stand for this,” said Niki Awoleye, a parent and Nigerian community leader.
Rosy Thakkar, a parent, and another Indian community leader observed “First of all you are taking away their innocence, and then you are implementing all these things without taking permission from their parents. A child who can’t even decide what major to pick by the time high school ends, is expected to know, understand and realize all of this in kindergarten, 1st grade, and second grade?”
Mariam Gandour, a parent and Coptic Christian community leader, points out “Your sick child couldn’t even get a Tylenol at school without a parents’ consent, and yet the state has given these schools the right to intervene on something as serious as gender identity. That to me is mind-boggling!”
Mr. Ciattarelli added to loud applause, “confidence that the school system and school curriculum is doing right by the student and respecting that particular family and that particular culture within that family and that community. Under Governor Ciattarelli we will certainly do that!”