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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8/1/22  5:33 pm
Commenter: Stephanie

State legislators are not trained educators or librarians
As a professionally trained librarian, I am extremely opposed to SB656. Teachers and librarians have graduate-level training to select and teach instructional material, and they know how to help children and teens navigate difficult subjects in age-appropriate ways. This bill puts more burden on them. All time spent adjusting lesson planning, developing multiple assignments based on varying definitions of "age-appropriate" materials, and battling parents on what is too "explicit" for their child will only take away from time spent educating their students. Teachers and librarians are already under-funded and under-appreciated, and with this bill their expertise will no longer be respected.
Parents have the right to choose how they approach difficult topics in their own household, but they are only experts on their child and are not experts in ALL children (or even all children in their community). Teachers and librarians have been teaching these, or similar, books for decades and they are valuable tools in building conscious, critical thinkers who will contribute to their society.
A parent wishing to hand-pick literature for their child to read in school is welcome to pursue alternative schooling models such as private schools, homeschooling, or other distance learning alternatives. A parent is also welcome to hand-pick literature for their child to read at home.
I worry that this bill will disproportionately put upper class (and frequently white) 2-parent households at an advantage. Those families will have more time and energy to pour through reading lists, preview "explicit" materials, and fight teachers. This disenfranchises the voices of people of color, of parents working multiple jobs, and of children without a strong support system.
If parents have the right to demand that topics interfering with their "values" be removed from the classroom, where could this extend in the future? On this basis, topics like evolution, sexual and reproductive health, civic education, and the history of specific social movements could be threatened.
CommentID: 124416