About 60 parents, educators, and advocates rallied at the Statehouse in Trenton on May 15, 2023, for parental rights and against governmental interference. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)
Michael Minaides, a father of two from Bridgewater, believes God created boys and girls, and teaching children otherwise is destructive and harms families.
Sheila Montague, a mother, educator and former mayoral candidate from Newark, doesn’t think kindergartners should be taught gender fluidity or students of any age should learn “gender-anything” without parental consent.
Christine Ruhl of Hopewell wants a bigger voice in her two sons’ education.
“These are our children and we want to have a say in what they’re taught and keep our Christian values alive,” Ruhl said.
The three joined about 60 parents, educators, and other advocates outside the Statehouse Monday at a rally organized by the Christian conservative groups the Garden State Center for Families and Working Together for NJ, and No Left Turn in Education, a group formed to oppose school lessons on racism.
With prayers, American flags, and political candidates aplenty, the gathering at times felt more like a church service or campaign rally. Speakers raged against everything from abortion and vaccines to gender-affirming care for youth and recently revamped sex ed standards in schools.
Roxbury mothers Christina Balestriere and Kristen Cobo, who challenged books in the school library as profane and got sued for it, spoke out against “books so vulgar they would make adults cringe” in school libraries.
Gregory Quinlan, director of the Center for Garden State Families, complained about “Atheist Andrew Zwicker,” the Democratic state senator who sponsored a bill establishing protections for people who provide, receive, or allow children to receive gender-affirming health care.
Quinlan called the bill “10 pages of wicked evil” and led the crowd in chants of “No! No! No!”
Amy Galarowicz, an educator from Caldwell, urged ralliers to remove their children from public schools.
“I’ll exhort everyone to jump off the government school train. It is up in flames and it’s headed over a cliff, people,” Galarowicz said. “Free yourselves from the tyranny of low expectations, the machine of standardized test prep, and just the radical ideology.”
One speaker led the crowd in booing diversity, equity and inclusion and bashed drag queen story hours as “the subtle programming of your children.”
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