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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7/26/22  8:16 am
Commenter: Christopher

Against this harmful policy

My name is Christopher and I live in Herndon, Virginia.

I am concerned about the Virginia Department of Education’s policies surrounding “sexually explicit content.” This broad term can be applied both to important works of literature and valuable resources for children.

As a librarian and resident, I believe that classrooms and libraries should be places where all students feel comfortable asking questions and learning that they are not alone. The proposed model policies could lead to the exclusion of valuable instructional materials that introduce students to LGBTQ+ stories and experiences, especially those by or for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Even worse, they could potentially prevent LGBTQ+ youth from accessing life-saving information about themselves. 

Parents should, of course, be involved in their children’s education, but the public school system is filled with amazing, educated individuals who spend time with students and understand that they often find out who they are through reading. If students don’t feel comfortable asking these questions in the classroom, they often go online and are subject to wrong and unmediated information. The trained professionals who work with these students daily know how to have these conversations with students and work to allow students to become healthy and informed citizens.

The proposed model policies would make it harder for these educators to do their job and will likely result in censorship due to teacher and librarian’s fear or confusion over what qualifies as “sexually explicit content.”

It is for these reasons that I oppose the proposed model policies.

CommentID: 124010