BARNEGAT, NJ – Without coming out directly with the impetus for his statement, Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain wants to make one thing clear. The Barnegat Police Department is “committed to our core values which include fairness, empathy, and respect.”

In a release on the Police Department’s Facebook page, Germain stressed that “the commitment is absolute and unwavering and applies to everyone.”

Germain was present at the recent Township Committee meeting when Barnegat Mayor Alfonso “Al” Cirulli expressed his personal outrage against adding the inclusion of LGBTQ contributors to public school curriculums across the state. Cirulli promised to wage a war against the efforts and says he has one year to do so before the new studies are added to the curriculum of Barnegat students.

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“As someone who grew up here and has had the privilege of working here for the last 25 years, I know that this town is at its best when we work together and support each other,” said Germain.

The Barnegat Chief didn’t single out his message to just members of the LGBTQ community. However, he did say that he released the statement after he was personally approached with “concerns and questions” regarding statements made at the Township meeting.

“The members of this agency go out every day with the conscious intent and conviction to protect the constitutional rights of all of the people with whom we come into contact and to instill in them the confidence that we will be there to help them when they need us,” assured Germain.

Meanwhile, Cirulli’s opposition focuses on the fact that parents can’t opt-out of the proposed curriculum. At the recent Township Committee meeting, Cirulli admitted that he had no knowledge of the proposed changes. He sees the new law as an attempt to “deprive parents of their First Amendment rights and to strip of them of how they morally raise their children.”

Garden State Equality, a statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community plays an integral part in the development of the proposed curriculum changes. They offered examples of what the model curriculum could include.

Some school districts will start the new curriculum in January 2020. Other students, including those in Barnegat, won’t see the changes until the 2020-2021 school year.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at sfaughnan@tapinto.net.