Agencies | Governor
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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7/23/22  2:55 pm
Commenter: Virginia Bookseller and Student

Strong Opposition to VA SB656

Schools are places for education, not daycares meant to coddle to parents' insecurities. The guiding principles for the implementation of this policy essentially allow anyone to ban anything they deem sexually explicit. How exactly can it be ensured that these parents are even reading the material they are trying to ban? Additionally, students do not remain kids forever. The whole point of school is to prepare young people for life, and acknowledging viewpoints other than their own is a part of living in an educated and accepting society. Sex is a part of life, and it is much safer for students to be educated on it comprehensively ahead of time in a safe environment like a classroom instead of on their own. Students need to understand concepts like consent, bodily autonomy, and trauma in an environment where critical thinking instead of fear mongering  is encouraged. It has been proven time and time again that educating students on sex results in lower teen pregnancy and STD rates. Finally, this bill will be used to further silence marginalized voices. The term "sexually explicit" is subjective and can be twisted to ban LGBTQ authors, authors of color, and female authors. And believe it or not, a lot of students fall into those categories. It is crucial that students can hear the opinions of those unlike themselves and are sufficiently represented in their curriculum. Should we ban MAUS for featuring the naked bodies of murdered Jews? Or The Color Purple for critically analyzing sexual trauma of African American women? The ACLU and the American Library Association have long documented attempts at banning books, and "parents rights" has historically been used to prevent the spread of books defending civil rights, amplifying minority voices, and highlighting societal issues. As a young person, I have seen how unexposed students become at best naive adults, and at worst bigoted policy makers. If this policy is implemented we risk raising a generation of fearful, myopic, and uneducated Americans that may one day resent us for allowing such a cultural loss to occur.

CommentID: 122878