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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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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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7/27/22  5:48 pm
Commenter: Responsible Fairfax County Parent

Support- SB656 has been passed– Let’s Address the Actual Issue/Examine Misinformation

Thank you to Governor Youngkin for passing this common sense bill.  One commenter asked, "Which parents are they supposed to consider?".  All of them. Every parent/guardian is the best choice to decide whether material is objectionable or harmful based on their familiy's experiences and beliefs.  It is not meant to protect "snowflakes", exclude factual historical discussions, project power, or discriminate. Giving parents the ability to opt out or request other material for their student does not exclude, pass judgement or prevent any other child from participating. A teacher cannot be expected to anticipate and safeguard the individual needs of all their students and is exactly why notification and transparency is so important.  I agree with Commenter 124042 that it can also create a "teachable moment" that has potential for lasting impact.  I also agree with "Stop allowing parents to shove their agenda down other people's throats". Exactly put, that door swings in both directions! The intent of this bill has never been about censorship or banning books (as stated in the Bill) but rather the rights of parents to knowledgeably participate in their child's education. Education should be collaborative. Caring for a child's mind should be no different than caring for their body. No one says to a doctor, "You're a professional, you make all the decisions.  My input isn't required". Opposing commenters claim policy directives put undue pressure on teachers. Expecting teachers to be psychologists and therapists navigating personal development and social political issues is worse. Teachers need respect but also our support in raising the next generation of citizens.  We can't leave our responsibilities at the school door and expect them to take over. Any teacher worth their salt should already be aware of their curriculum content and confident to defend their choices.  If this "chills" the ability of educators, there is probably a reason. In the words of Justice Stewart, "....but I know it when I see it". Material censored from being read aloud on the House floor and blocked by the VDOE "firewall" as inappropriate has no business in school.  Intensely emotional, explicit topics as deemed illegal or too provocative should be left for discussion with parents, families or worship providers. A teacher's job is to educate not indoctrinate. Currently the established guidelines have allowed many examples of loose accountability where the "letter of the law" was "technically" upheld but the "intent of the law" was side stepped and parents' assumptions of trust violated and so here we are. More specific codification or identification should be required on all educational materials and adequate notice given to allow parents and students time to opt out and be provided comparable alternatives. Requiring students to read intensely graphic language is not necessary to teach empathy, civility, understanding or inclusion.  Maturity, reactions and emotions are not age specific, AP students need these classes to be competitive for college, kids will sacrifice personal discomfort rather than face peer pressure, the same teachers are asked to right recommendation letters- the power dynamics are problematic. Giving students an emotional "safe space" should never be in question.  Some discussions are better left for college where students are more self-aware and have the ability to choose their own classes.  It should be a personal choice what students are exposed to - can't un-ring a bell and experiences can be triggering to some who have experienced their own trauma.  Loose the politics.

CommentID: 124099