Barnegat Police Chief, School Board respond to Mayor’s Curriculum concerns
Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain and School Board Superintendent Brian Latwis have issued comments on Wednesday afternoon following Mayor Alfonso Cirulli's remarks at the committee meeting on Tuesday morning opposing the state-mandated LGBTQ curriculum being implemented into the middle and high schools, calling it "an affront to almighty God."
Cirulli, who is a former assistant principal, said that while laws are implemented with the best of intentions, "we've crossed over the line into absurdity" with the introduction of the law for the 2020-21 school year.
"There is no hate or bigotry intended here. Everyone has a right to live his or her life the way they want to. But no group has a right to force others to comply with their beliefs, deprive them of their First Amendment rights and strip the rights of parents as to how to morally raise their children."
Cirulli expressed the belief that sexual preference is a "mindset" and there is no comparison between a person's sexual preference with racial or ethnic discrimination.
He also noted that the law does not have an opt-out for students, which he said upset him the most.
"The nation was established on a principle of religious freedom. Politicians have no right to promote the LGBTQ agenda through laws that that are intended to destroy religious freedom, especially our Jewish and Christian heritage," Cirulli said.
In part the USCCB states that, "The Church seeks to enable every person to live out the universal call to holiness. Persons with a homosexual inclination ought to receive every aid and encouragement to embrace this call personally and fully. This will unavoidably involve much struggle and self-mastery, for following Jesus always means following the way of the Cross.... The Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance are essential sources of consolation and aid on this path.
The Church teaches that persons with a homosexual inclination must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action."
Various branches within Judaism have different views of homosexuality, according to LearnReligions.com.
"Traditional Judaism considers homosexual acts as a violation of Jewish law (halakha). More progressive movements of Judaism believe homosexuality today was not understood when the Bible was written so the Biblical prohibition of homosexual acts needs to be adapted."
Deputy Mayor John Novak spoke in support of Mayor Cirulli on Tuesday and said it should be up to parents to teach things with spiritual or religious connotations.
"Parents have rights. If I want my child to learn about homosexuality either I will teach him or if I am ill qualified or uncomfortable doing it I will find an appropriate person that I think is appropriate to teach my child what I want my child to learn about LBTG and Q curriculum, not the government," Novak said.
On Wednesday, Barnegat Schools Superintendent Brian Latwis issued a statement provided to WOBM News that reads in part:
"As the Superintendent of Barnegat Schools I am charged with ensuring the students of this district are provided a complete, thorough, rigorous, relevant and inclusive educational program.
You may be aware of the recent publicity surrounding the LGBTQ inclusive curriculum being piloted 12 New Jersey school districts this year.
At this time, we have not been provided with specific direction on changes to implement.
However, regardless of what we do, I want each of you to know that Barnegat Schools will do everything we can to navigate challenges and difficult situations with sensitivity to all members of this Barnegat family.
Our vision is to provide an amazing, complete and appropriate educational experience for all students.
Students are all different, and each requires a different level of support, different level of academic rigor and different levels of social and emotional support.
Every student in the district is an individual. For unique individuals, our vision is to meet the needs of each student."
Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain issued a separate statement from the Superintendent which was also provided to WOBM News.