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Project Veritas, a Right-Wing Quasi-News Org, Targets Local Sex Ed Institution & Maybe Monty Schools

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted September 15, 2023


Project Veritas, a national ultra-conservative non-profit group, released a video on September 13 that targets HiTOPS, a Princeton-based nonprofit that provides sex education and LGTBQ+ programs for adolescents, sometimes through schools, in New Jersey.


The video, which includes secret recordings and obvious heavy editing, claims that HiTOPS sneaks sexual and LGBTQ+ curriculum content into schools, with a goal of stripping parents of their opt-out right.


HiTOPS Executive Director Lisa Shelby said Project Veritas is a "known hate group that uses deceptive, unethical practices to spread misinformation," in a press release dated September 15. "Project Veritas’ methods of manipulation are well-documented, and they have targeted numerous organizations and individuals across the country over many years. They have been widely discredited by reputable journalists and have lost multiple legal battles."


In New Jersey, it is illegal to secretly record individuals. It is also slanderous to heavily edit the secret recordings to discredit organizations and private individuals.

FamilyBorn, a birth center (now closed) once located in Princeton, created the HiTOPS program in 1987 to provide adolescent health services to youth. Betty Wold Johnson provided seed funding.


“HiTOPS has served young people and their families throughout the state for 37 years,” Shelby stated in the press release. “We are the recognized and trusted expert in New Jersey for youth-focused sex education and support. That is exactly why this hate group misrepresented themselves to us, secretly filmed two lengthy conversations, and manipulated our words to vilify our organization, and discredit our work and the delivery of sex education in our state.”


“The goal of Project Veritas is to wreak havoc and stoke fear and hatred. They target HiTOPS and other organizations to keep us from fulfilling our missions,” stated Shelby. “HiTOPS will not be intimidated or back down from our commitment to youth and their families. We stand by our mission and young people. Always.”


Secret Recordings at Montgomery School Board Meetings

A man with a high-tech video camera and a microphone took copious video footage of the

Montgomery School Board meeting on August 22. The videographer refused to give his name to a Montgomery News reporter.


The man chose to record a meeting in which a member of the audience seemingly extemporaneously (and erroneously) accused the board president of being "topless" at a concert she attended with her adult daughters over the summer.


The man with the video camera told the reporter that Jeff Grant—a right-wing activist who leads the Central Jersey Conservative Union—had invited him to the meeting. Grant, who attended the meeting as a Belle Mead resident, has previously called the school board president a "white racist" and a "communist."


Grant told the videographer not to talk to the reporter. It is unknown how this secret video will be used.


School officials did not know the identity of the secret videographer either.


About HiTops

HiTOPS openly and proudly works to empower all young people through sex education, LGBTQ+ support, and creating environments that affirm youth of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The organization's goal is for all young people to have access to developmentally appropriate, positive, and medically accurate sex education, to have essential social supports, and to live, work and play in affirming communities.


In addition, HiTOPS executives says they strongly value family involvement in the lives of their children and features education programs for parents, parent support groups, and various opportunities for parent/child engagement in our work in the community and in schools, according to the press release.


“HiTOPS partners with schools throughout the state to deliver curricula that are aligned with the needs of schools and the requirements of the state,” explained Director of Education Dr. Stacy Robustelli. “We collaborate with educators to develop and facilitate lessons that fulfill the Diversity and Inclusion Instruction Mandate and meet the New Jersey Sex Education Standards. While mandated concepts like acceptance and inclusion may be taught in a variety of classes, sex education content like anatomy and human reproduction are only taught in classes that offer the option for a parent to opt-out their child. We teach in the classes where districts place us and parents are always informed prior to any instruction.”

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