I strongly object to the state government interference in local authority and classroom teachers ability to administer appropriate policies when educating our children. Whether intentional or not, the implementation of SB 656 will result in confusion and ultimately censorship when some teachers opt to be silent instead of risking their jobs.
Labeling books as having “sexually explicit content” with no context or understanding of the materials severely limits a teachers' ability to present varied experiences and perspectives. This censorship can deprive Virginia’s students from benefiting from the history of humanity presented through art.
More importantly, "Sexually explicit content”, as defined in the Virginia code, can include everything from teaching LGBTQ+ history to excluding the discussion of LGBTQ+ families in family life classes. This is absolutely unacceptable and is the same as Florida’s discriminatory bill restricting the mention of homosexuality.
Almost every family has members that are LGBTQ. Gallup found that more than 7% of U.S. adults identify as something other than straight or heterosexual and this percentage has steadily increased since Gallup first measured LGBT identification in 2012. (https://news.gallup.com/poll/332522/percentage-americans-lgbt.aspx). This means that at least one student in 14 would be deprived of information at school that would allow their family to be treated as normal.