NJ Statutes & Administrative Mandates
N.J.A.C. 6A:8-1.1: The New Jersey Student Learning Standards specify expectations in nine content areas. The standards are further delineated by performance expectations that outline what students should know and be able to do at individual grades or benchmark grades two, five, eight, and twelve.
N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1: Requires districts to "ensure that curriculum and instruction are delivered in such a way that all students are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills specified by the NJSLS specified by the NJSLS and shall ensure that appropriate instructional adaptations are designed and delivered for students with disabilities, for ELLs, for students enrolled in alternative education programs, and for students who are gifted and talented".
N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1(a)3: Holds school districts accountable for "assessing and publicly reporting on the progress of all students in developing the knowledge and skills specified by the NJSLS".
Curriculum Development: Integration of 21st Century Skills and Themes and Interdisciplinary Connections District boards of education shall be responsible for the review and continuous improvement of curriculum and instruction based upon changes in knowledge, technology, assessment results, and modifications to the NJSLS, according to N.J.A.C. 6A:8-2. 1. District boards of education shall include interdisciplinary connections throughout the K–12 curriculum. 2. District boards of education shall integrate into the curriculum 21st century themes and skills (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1(c).
Twenty-first century themes and skills integrated into all content standards areas (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-1.1(a)3). “Twenty-first century themes and skills” means themes such as global awareness; financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy; civic literacy; health literacy; learning and innovation skills, including creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration; information, media, and technology skills; and life and career skills, including flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, and leadership and responsibility.
K-12 Universal Legislation
Amistad Law: N.J.S.A. 18A 35-4.43 Every board of education shall Include, in the curriculum of all elementary and secondary school students, instruction that infuses into all courses of the United States, the centuries of accomplishments by African Americans in the building and development of America including, but not limited to, the areas of industry, military, government, and the professions; local communities; math, science, medicine, and space; architecture and the arts; social institutions and culture; and other aspects of life in America.
Holocaust Law: N.J.S.A. 18A:35-28 Every board of education shall include instruction on the Holocaust and genocides in an appropriate place in the curriculum of all elementary and secondary school pupils. The instruction shall further emphasize the personal responsibility that each citizen bears to fight racism and hatred whenever and wherever it happens.
LGBT and Disabilities Law: N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.35 A board of education shall include instruction on the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, in an appropriate place in the curriculum of middle school and high school students as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (N.J.S.A.18A:35-4.36) A board of education shall have policies and procedures in place pertaining to the selection of instructional materials to implement the requirements of N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.35.
Diversity and Inclusion Law: (N.J.S.A.18A:35-4.36a) Each school district shall incorporate instruction on diversity and inclusion in an appropriate place in the curriculum of students K-12 as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.
Bullying Prevention Programs (N.J.S.A. 18A:37- 17) Requires the establishment of bullying prevention programs. Schools and school districts are encouraged to establish bullying prevention programs and other initiatives involving school staff, students, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement, and community members. To the extent funds are appropriated for these purposes, a school district shall: (1) provide training on the school district’s harassment, intimidation, or bullying policies to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students; and (2) develop a process for discussing the district’s harassment, intimidation, or bullying policy with students. Information regarding the school district policy against harassment, intimidation, or bullying shall be incorporated into a school’s employee training program.
Cancer Awareness (N.J.S.A. 18A:40-33) Requires the development of a school program on cancer awareness.
Domestic Violence Education (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.23) Allows instruction on problems related to domestic violence and child abuse. A board of education may include instruction on the problems of domestic violence and child abuse in an appropriate place in the curriculum of elementary school, middle school, and high school pupils. The instruction shall enable pupils to understand the psychology and dynamics of family violence, dating violence, and child abuse; the relationship of alcohol and drug use to such violence and abuse; and the relationship of animal cruelty to such violence and abuse; and to learn methods of nonviolent problem-solving.
Organ Donation (N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-4.3) Requires information relative to organ donation to be given to students in grades 9 through 12. The goals of the instruction shall be to: • Emphasize the benefits of organ and tissue donation to the health and well-being of society generally and to individuals whose lives are saved by organ and tissue donations, so that students will be motivated to make an affirmative decision to register as donors when they become adults. • Fully address myths and misunderstandings regarding organ and tissue donation. • Explain the options available to adults, including the option of designating a decision-maker to make the donation decision on one’s behalf. • Instill an understanding of the consequences when an individual does not make a decision to become an organ donor and does not register or otherwise record a designated decision-maker. The instruction shall inform students that, beginning five years from the date of enactment of P.L.2008, c.48 (C.26:6-66 et al.), the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will not issue or renew a New Jersey driver’s license or personal identification card unless a prospective or renewing licensee or card holder makes an acknowledgement regarding the donor decision pursuant to section 8 of P.L.2008, c.48 (C.39:3-12.4).
Specific to Comprehensive Health & PE
Consent (N.J.S.A. 18A:35)
Requires age-appropriate instruction in grades six through 12 on the law and meaning of consent for physical contact and sexual activity as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The instruction shall be designed to increase discussion and awareness that consent is required before physical contact or sexual activity, as well as the social, emotional, and relational impact surrounding sexuality, the right to say no to unwanted physical contact or sexual activity, and the virtues of respecting the right of others to say no.
Sexting (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.33)
A Board of education shall include instruction on the social, emotional, and legal consequences of distributing and soliciting sexually explicit images through electronic means once during middle school in an appropriate place in the curriculum as part as of the school district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The Commissioner of Education shall provide school districts with age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources designed to implement this requirement.
Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness and Prevention Education (N.J.S.A 18A:35-4.5a.)
Requires each school district shall incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in grades preschool through 12 as part of the district's implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, the New Jersey Children’s Alliance, and other entities with relevant expertise, shall provide school districts with age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources.
Accident and Fire Prevention (N.J.S.A. 18A:6-2)
Requires instruction in accident and fire prevention. Regular courses of instruction in accident prevention and fire prevention shall be given in every public and private school in this state. Instruction shall be adapted to the understanding of students at different grade levels.
Breast Self-Examination (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-5.4)
Requires instruction on breast self-examination. Each board of education which operates an educational program for students in grades 7 through 12 shall offer instruction in breast self-examination. The instruction shall take place as part of the district’s implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, and the comprehensive health and physical education curriculum framework shall provide school districts with sample activities that may be used to support implementation of the instructional requirement.
Mental Health (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.39)
A school district shall ensure that its health education programs for students in grades kindergarten through 12 recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health and the relation of physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behaviors that promote health, well-being, and human dignity. The instruction in mental health shall be adapted to the age and understanding of the students and shall be incorporated as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The instruction shall include, as appropriate, information on substance abuse provided pursuant to the implementation of these standards and to section 1 of P.L.2016, c.46 (C.18A:40A-2.1). The State Board of Education shall review and update the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education to ensure the incorporation of instruction in mental health in an appropriate place in the curriculum for students in grades kindergarten through 12. In its review, the State board shall consult with mental health experts including, but not limited to, representatives from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Human Services.
New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.40 & 18A:35-4.41)
The Department of Education shall review the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education to ensure that information on the provisions of the "New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act," P.L.2000, c.58 (C.30:4C-15.5 et seq.) shall be included therein to public school students in grades 9 through 12.
CPR/ AED Instruction (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.28-4.29)
Requires public high schools to provide instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator to each student prior to graduation.
Dating Violence Education (N.J.S.A. 18A: 35-4.23a)
Requires instruction regarding dating violence in grades 7 through 12. Each school district shall incorporate dating violence education that is age appropriate into the health education curriculum as part of the district’s implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education for students in grades 7 through 12. The dating violence education shall include, but not be limited to information on the definition of dating violence, recognizing dating violence warning signs, and the characteristics of healthy relationships.
Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco, Controlled Dangerous Substances, and Anabolic Steroids (N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-1)
Requires instructional programs on drugs, alcohol, anabolic steroids, tobacco, and controlled dangerous substances and the development of curriculum guidelines. Instructional programs on the nature of drugs, alcohol, anabolic steroids, tobacco, and controlled dangerous substances, as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2), and their physiological, psychological, sociological, and legal effects on the individual, the family, and society shall be taught in each public school and in each grade from kindergarten through 12 in a manner adapted to the age and understanding of the pupils. The programs shall be based upon the curriculum guidelines established by the Commissioner of Education and shall be included in the curriculum for each grade in such a manner as to provide a thorough and comprehensive treatment of the subject.
Gang Violence Prevention (18A:35-4.26)
Requires instruction in gang violence prevention for elementary school students. Each board of education that operates an educational program for elementary school students shall offer instruction in gang violence prevention and in ways to avoid membership in gangs. The instruction shall take place as part of the district’s implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, and the comprehensive health and physical education curriculum framework shall provide school districts with sample materials that may be used to support implementation of the instructional requirement.
Lyme Disease Prevention (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-5.1)
Requires the development of Lyme disease curriculum guidelines. The guidelines shall emphasize disease prevention and sensitivity for victims of the disease. The Commissioner of Education shall periodically review and update the guidelines to ensure that the curriculum reflects the most current information available.
Stress Abstinence (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.19-20)
Also known as the “AIDS Prevention Act of 1999,” requires sex education programs to stress abstinence. Any sex education that is given as part of any planned course, curriculum, or other instructional program and that is intended to impart information or promote discussion or understanding in regard to human sexual behavior, sexual feelings and sexual values, human sexuality and reproduction, pregnancy avoidance or termination, HIV infection or sexually transmitted diseases, regardless of whether such instruction is described as, or incorporated into, a description of “sex education,” “family life education,” “family health education,” “health education,” “family living,” “health,” “self-esteem,” or any other course, curriculum program, or goal of education, and any materials including, but not limited, to handouts, speakers, notes, or audiovisuals presented on school property concerning methods for the prevention of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), other sexually transmitted diseases, and of avoiding pregnancy, shall stress that abstinence from sexual activity is the only completely reliable means of eliminating the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and of avoiding pregnancy.
Suicide Prevention (N.J.S.A. 18A: 6-111) Requires instruction in suicide prevention in public schools. Instruction in suicide prevention shall be provided as part of any continuing education that public-school teaching staff members must complete to maintain their certification; and inclusion of suicide prevention awareness shall be included in the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.
Time devoted to course in Health, Safety and Physical Education (N.J.S.A. 18A: 35-5. N.J.S.A. 18A: 35-5 requires each board of education shall conduct as a part of the instruction in the public schools’ courses in health, safety and physical education, which courses shall be adapted to the ages and capabilities of the pupils in the several grades and departments. To promote the aims of these courses any additional requirements or rules as to medical inspection of school children may be imposed. Every pupil, except kindergarten pupils, attending the public schools, insofar as he is physically fit and capable of doing so, as determined by the medical inspector, shall take such courses, which shall be a part of the curriculum prescribed for the several grades, and the conduct and attainment of the pupils shall be marked as in other courses or subjects, and the standing of the pupil in connection therewith shall form a part of the requirements for promotion or graduation (N.J.S.A. 18A: 35-7). The time devoted to such courses shall aggregate at least two and one-half hours in each school week, or proportionately less when holidays fall within the week (N.J.S.A. 18A: 35-8).
Specific to Social Studies
Laura Wooten Law: N.J.S.A. 18A:35-41. Each board of education shall provide a course of study in civics, which shall be taken by all students in an appropriate middle school grade. The course shall address: the values and principles underlying the American system of constitutional democracy; the function and limitations of government; and the role of a citizen in a democratic society. The board shall ensure that the course of student includes a minimum of two quarters of instruction or the equivalent.
Specific to Science
N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.24 and N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.25 authorizes parents or guardians to assert the right of their children to refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction.