Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions [8 VAC 20 ‑ 720]
Action Amendments Regarding Use of Controversial or Sensitive Instructional Materials
Comment Period Ended on 1/15/2014
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1/8/14  3:40 pm
Commenter: Destiny Burns, Citizen and Parent

Reject this Amendment

This vague and insidious amendment must be rejected. The definition of "sensitive" and "sexually explicit" materials is highly subjective and should not be regulated by the state. These definitions, especially in application to educational materials, can be interpreted in vastly different ways, particularly when "bad" words or phrases are taken out of context from the materials as a whole.  I was an active and vocal member of The Right 2 Read Coalition in Fairfax County who stood in opposition to the Fairfax County School Board voting to ban books based on the interpretation of another vocal parent group who defined many books as "bad" based on isolated words and phrases they contained taken out of context from the books as a whole.  This important fight for intellectual freedom resulted in the continued availability, access to and use of many outstanding books in the curriculum while maintaining a parent's right to restrict their own child from reading these materials at their own discretion.  This approach does require a parent's active involvement in what their own child is studying, but as the current regulation already prescribes, this information is being provided to parents in advance as part of the learning objectives or in a course syllabus.  It is not the responsibility of the state to legislate morality, but it is incumbent on the state to respect and protect the constitutional rights of all its citizens.  This amendment would impinge on those constitutional rights and open a door to censorship.  Reject this amendment.

CommentID: 29908