NJ teacher union ad: Attacks by ‘extremists’ are ‘not who we are’
A 15-second video advertisement released Monday by New Jersey's largest and most prominent teachers' union appears to take on those who are combatively vocal at school board meetings, plus legislation that some have called the state's version of a "Don't Say Gay" bill.
The spot from the New Jersey Education Association is called "Same Thing," and opens with a split-screen image of two breakfast sandwiches: one with the text "Taylor Ham," and the other, "Pork Roll."
"We don't agree on everything in New Jersey, but we all agree that our kids deserve a world-class education," a voiceover says.
The images quickly cut from color footage of smiling students and teachers to black-and-white still photos of people standing up among assembled crowds and looking angry.
"When extremists start attacking our schools, that's not who we are," the voiceover continues. "People who only want to fight to score political points should take that somewhere else."
Although those quotes and a stock music track are the only audio in the ad, one of the black-and-white images is accompanied by a Patch.com headline dated May 19, "'Don't Say Gay' Bill Introduced By NJ State Senator."
That refers to bill S2648, introduced May 16 by Sen. Ed Durr, R-Gloucester, which "prohibits school districts from incorporating instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in grades kindergarten through six," further requiring parental or guardian consent for such instruction through 12th grade.
In response to the advertisement Monday, Matt Rooney of the conservative "Save Jersey" blog characterized the video as "slander" and said it was a "stupid" use of NJEA members' money.
"Attacking Garden State parents who don't want their First Graders learning about gender fluidity? Politically risky for sure, but the NJEA is leaning in," Rooney wrote.