New Pennacchio/Testa Bill Will Restore Parental Rights Above Social Agendas

Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Michael Testa have introduced legislation reaffirming parental rights and amending current law to prevent schools from teaching some concepts related to critical race theory (CRT) and various controversial topics to students younger than high school age.

The bill, S-2385, redresses some of the directives contained in legislation (A-4454), which was passed in the previous legislative session and signed into law on March 1, 2021.

“The term ‘unconscious bias’ is one of the key tenets of CRT. They are intent on teaching students that they are racists even if they don’t mean to be, and they are teaching this to kids as young as Kindergarten-age,” said Senator Pennacchio (R-26). “The moral and sexual upbringing of young children is the responsibility of mothers and fathers. In their effort to redraw the lines of authority and societal mores, Democrats in the Legislature have deliberately and stealthily moved toward an extreme curriculum on topics such as sexuality and critical race theory.”

“This common-sense bill reforms an out-of-control attempt to unnecessarily introduce sexuality into our kindergarten and elementary school children,” said Senator Testa (R-1). “We trust parents to know what is best for their kids in this area and believe that they should have the final say, not the woke crowd who want to insert their progressive agendas into our classrooms.”

When originally introduced, the new law would have established standards for high school education, but before it was passed it was amended to include students as young as 4 and 5 years old. Pennacchio and Testa’s bill would return the focus to higher grades.

“The Democrat legislative majority is fixated on manipulating the beliefs and philosophies of the next generation, and they are willing to trample on the rights of parent to raise their offspring,” said Pennacchio. “We want to prevent schools from teaching little kids about gender identities or deprogramming their ‘unconscious racial and sexual biases.’ Leave it to parents to decide how they want to approach these issues with their young children.”

Pennacchio and Testa introduced legislation in November, now S-598 in the current session, that would prohibit teaching critical race theory in public schools and bar public school teachers from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in classroom.

“Parental Rights” is a key component of the Senate Republican #GiveItBack initiative, which provides New Jerseyans an opportunity to tell Governor Murphy to give back everything he has taken from them. Nearly 5,000 people have already told Governor Murphy to “Give It Back” at