There have been discussions, even moral and ethical debates, at the statehouse in Trenton, classrooms, offices, businesses, and across communities in New Jersey with regards to sex education in schools and all that it implies.

There is also a growing concern, for some or many, on how all of these discussion points are affecting the minds of young and developing boys and girls.

A State Senator from South Jersey introduced a piece of legislation on Thursday that would not permit boys and girls to have any irreversible treatment or surgery such as a sex change or anything that would prevent or delay puberty or lead to sterilization.

One of the arguments from 3rd District Republican State Senator Ed Durr for introducing the "Child Protection and Anti-Mutilation Act" is that children are too young and impressionable to make such life altering decisions at their ages.

“Children do not have the maturity to make life-changing medical decisions that cannot be reversed,” Senator Durr said in a written statement. “We cannot discount the fact that 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old children are extremely impressionable and can be influenced by adults who may push them to make choices they cannot fully comprehend. We can protect children from unnecessary and permanent harm by delaying these important decisions until they are adults.”

According to Senator Durr, the bill would prohibit anyone "with regard to an un-emancipated person under 18 years of age" to be engage in, perform, or cause the following practices to happen.

  • Prescribing or administering puberty blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty.
  • Prescribing or administering supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or other androgens to females.
  • Prescribing or administering supraphysiologic doses of estrogen to males.
  • Performing surgeries that result in sterilization, including, but not limited to, castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and penectomy.
  • Performing surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual’s sex, including, but not limited to, metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty.
  • Removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue, except in the case of a male circumcision.

If someone were to violate this law in any way, they would be charged with a 3rd Degree crime, heading to prison for 3-5 years, and have to pay a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

Long Branch man sentenced to 35-years for fatal stabbing of ex-girlfriend
(Photo: Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

The exception, Senator Durr said about his bill is that it "would not apply to procedures undertaken to treat a minor with a medically verifiable disorder of sex development."

“It’s nothing short of child abuse to allow minors, including pre-pubescent kids, to undergo life-changing, medically unnecessary treatments and surgeries when they are unable to fully understand the inescapable consequences of these actions,” Senator Durr said. “It’s absolutely obscene that we’re letting kids agree to mutilating surgeries that can never be undone. No adult should ever look back wondering how they were allowed to make such monumental decisions as a child that they now regret.”

Is this a reason many in New Jersey don't want sex education being taught in schools and the Murphy administration mandating it?

There has been a lot of conversations and confusions over what is being mandated or not mandated or what should or shouldn't be, what is being taught or not taught, the clarity of opting a child out of a class under the new sex ed curriculum, should elementary school children be taught these lessons, etc.

It came to one boiling point last month when some state GOP lawmakers and the New Jersey Education Association sparred over the 'Don't Say Gay' bill introduced by State Senator Ed Durr.

NJEA "Same Thing" ad
NJEA "Same Thing" ad (YouTube)

The NJEA put out a video calling those who disagreed "extremists" implying they wanted to score political points.

The GOP posted a video of their own where the NJEA accused them of censorship, that some took exception with as a violation of voicing an opinion and free speech.

NJEA President Sean Spiller, NJ Assemblyman John DiMaio (Montclair Mayor's Office/NJGOP/Townsquare Media)
NJEA President Sean Spiller, NJ Assemblyman John DiMaio (Montclair Mayor's Office/NJGOP/Townsquare Media)

It has continued to spark debate between the GOP and State Democrats, the GOP and NJEA, parents with moral, ethical, religious concerns and the Murphy administration over what is truly in the best interest of the children of New Jersey and what they're being taught.

Two 13th District Legislators in Monmouth County -- Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger and Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn -- brought up this week their concern, echoing that of which was expressed to them by constituents, about the Murphy administration mandating schools to comply with the new sex ed standards or face the consequences.

They argue that the time, money, and resources being spent on these lessons in schools should be focused on learning loss in schools or suppressing crimes in the community outside of any school matter.

New Jersey school districts, including Toms River Regional and Marlboro, have come out to clarify what is being mandated and what is not being taught and what will or won't be discussed at certain grade levels to try and alleviate any concern any parent or individual may have with what has or has not been mentioned by any particular lawmaker to try and get as many as possible on the same page of understanding.

School classroom
maroke, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Previous reporting by Dino Flammia, Patrick Lavery, and Erin Vogt was used in this article.

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