Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Guidance Document Change: The guidance document "Model Policies Concerning Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content" was developed in conjunction with stakeholders in order to comply with SB656 (2022).
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7/18/22  12:09 pm
Commenter: Frazier Stern

Opposed to SB 656

I am opposed to SB 656. Although it is valuable for parents to have awareness of what their children are being taught, the overly broad language of this bill opens the door to interference from parents with regards to any materials their personal politics may deem as "sexually explicit". It is very important for our children to have a comprehensive sexual education. By taking away from students the opportunity to engage with materials solely based on a broad reading of "sexually explicit" we put these students' education at risk. Children will inevitably end up exposed to materials that fall outside of their parents' definition of appropriate, so being able to learn about these ideas in a supportive educational environmental is critical.

All of this is especially important to support LGBTQIA+ students, as historically media involving LGBTQIA+ topics have often come under fire for being sexually explicit, whether they include any sexual content at all. This bill's vague language gives extensive power to parents to block the teaching of these materials, which serves to "other" queer students at a time in their lives when they most need support.

Lastly this bill is actively disruptive to teachers. By enabling parents to not only decline the teaching of materials, but to also have the opportunity to provide their own materials, this complicates the ability for a teacher to educate. Forcing teachers to teach additional materials, especially those not vetted by educational experts, serves only to unnecessarily complicate their job, and stifle student conversation on critical topics.

This bill does nothing to support the education of our children and has no place in our schools.

CommentID: 122715