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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8/1/22  6:37 pm
Commenter: Suzan C, APS Parent

STRONGLY OPPOSE unnecessary, vague policy that ignores literary, artistic, scientific value

I strongly oppose VDOE's proposed "sexually explicit content" policy for three reasons:  (1) it is redundant of existing parental rights and therefore unnecessary, (2) it places an undue burden on principals, teachers, and other educators to discern what counts as "sexually explicit," and (3) it does not take into account whether the material has serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value -- the primary purpose of instructional materials. 

First, parents already have the right to review their child's curriculum, including instructional materials, and to request alternative materials for their individual child. This policy diverts scarce resources from legitimate educational purposes to force educators to spend time and energy on an overtly political issue. This is not how I want my property taxes spent.  

Second, the policy does not provide clear guidance beyond the state's statutory definitions, which are themselves vague, overbroad, and inherently subjective. For example, what constitutes a "lewd" exhibition of nudity? Paintings by Raphael or Picasso? What are "acts of homosexuality," which is part of the definition of "sexual conduct"? Does it include holding hands or a kiss on the cheek if that conduct is between two boys or two girls? 

Third, and most importantly, the policy omits any mention of "harm to juveniles," which should be the primary concern of parents and educators.  It is unreasonable to assume that all "sexually explicit material," as vaguely defined by statute, is harmful.  Further, it is unreasonable to require that an individual's opinion regarding what constitutes a "lewd exhibition of nudity" or an "act of homosexuality" should be subject to parental notification if the material otherwise has serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. 

At a minimum, the draft policy should be amended to take the academic value of the instructional materials into account.  

CommentID: 124423