Parental notification, review and consent should be for all materials students may encounter or use within the public school system not just those outlined in this policy. This policy should strictly outline and include instructional material in the teachers classroom they may use, in the school's library and any info the student may be presented to include internet resources, audio and visual resources like videos etc. This policy as is leaves much room for improvement to uphold the rights of parents in the upbringing and education of their children.
Per the policy's definition of "sexually explicit content" the only solution is to BAN all content as defined below. What student under the age of 18 needs access to or be exposed to any of this? Alerting the parents isn't enough--you need to get rid of it all.
Section 2.2-2827 of the Virginia Code states that “Sexually explicit content” “means (i) any description of or (ii) any picture, photograph, drawing, motion picture film, digital image or similar visual representation depicting sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, as nudity is defined in Section 18.2-390, sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, as also defined in Section 18.2-390, coprophilia, urophilia, or fetishism.”
Hello and thank you for allowing me to comment. I guess I am a bit confused as to why we need this policy unless it will just say that sexually explicit materials will not be allowed in the public schools. Perhaps I am oversimplifying this but we have movie ratings that are not complicated. The students bonded to focus on reading, math, history, and science. I’m okay with teaching about contraception, but that’s it. There is no need for more. I would question anyone advocating to teach more. I firmly believe in parental choice as parents should run the schools. Given that Virginia just ranked last in the country in reading and math clearly shows where the focus should be. I vote to eradicate sexually explicit materials. Call it book banning if you like, but if a parent wants to share that material with their child, they can do it in the privacy of their home.
Thank you for your time.
I want to thank you for the proposed legislation to put parents in back in the driver’s seat of the education of their children. Administrations in many counties of VA have shown the intent to cut off the input of parents and force material upon children in schools. It is time for this to end.
Thank you to the brave men and women who obviously spent a lot of time and care in producing guidance that protects our children. Parents have become weary in the knowledge that those we entrust to protect and teach our children have abused that privilege and acted sometimes like abusers of their innocent minds. I thank you for the courage to re-instill Godly principles in our schools. Thank you for helping to heal families who have been torn apart by these devisive school policies. This marks the beginning of the long awaited healing of the young minds that have been exposed to the most evil attack against them. These are the future leaders that will make right decisions based on morals that focus on the love of our neighbors and not the concern for their sexual preferences which should never ever be the concern of anyone else besides a student and their families. Thank you for just legislatures who have the greatest courage and responsibility of representing We the People in a fair and constitutional way. Thank you for marking the road to healing a nation. Your bravery is not going unnoticed.
Overall this is a much needed improvement from the current lack of transparency in our schools. The primary issue I see with it is that it allows schools administrations to interpret which materials fall within the 2.2-2827 guidelines for sexually explicit. For example, what the LCPS administration considers to be sexual conduct or lewd may be far more extreme than what I as a parent consider to fall in this category. The schools should have to notify parents of all materials that reference anything sexual, involving sexual body parts, sexual orientation, etc. The parents should then be able to make the determination of whether that material falls under the VA code definition of sexually explicit, and if the school has permission to expose their children to it.
I've seen the materials that the LCPS Board has allowed in school libraries, and quite frankly I don't trust them to make a rational determination of what my kids should be exposed to at school which I will say is none of it - zero, nothing. The LCPS administration ordered these controversial books in the first place, so I trust them even less than the school board to interpret the VA Code. As a parent, I should be able to determine what is sexually explicit when it comes to school exposure for my children. I choose to preserve their innocence, and to not have them exposed to or talked to about anything sexual in school whatsoever. When they come across these questions I will be here to answer them, but LCPS does not need to fast forward that process or involve itself in it in any way, and has a proven track record that they cannot be trusted to decide what is sexually explicit.
Parents should be notified and have the opportunity to review all sexual materials brought into schools and parents should decide whether their child should have access to such materials.
Please address the grooming issue and provide appropriate penalties.
The left is exploiting sexual material not to groom children sexually, although I suspect there’s some of that, but to groom them for exploitation as candidates for social justice warriors.
The rights of parents must to be protected when it comes to their children. The public schools should NOT get to choose for my kids to be exposed to the kind of sexually graphic content that I have seen in the libraries. This lack of respect for family values is one of the main reasons for the surge of homeschooling families.
I am a parent of a high school student. I have read through this document. Several times it speaks of respecting parents choices, thoughts, and decisions. It fails to mention respecting teachers and administrators and their broad educational background in educating our children in the public schools. Human sexuality is part of life and attempting to shelter your children from any hint of it through literature or other media is fruitless pursuit. Has anyone read the Bible? The Bible speaks very explicitly about sex, rape, gang rape, incest, adultery, stoning rape victims, child sacrifice, and numerous other topics. But there is little outcry to shelter children from the Word of God. On a side note how many parents who want to ban books review what their children are viewing on the Inter or smart phone??? Please let teachers teach and librarians make decisions about what is appropriate in public schools. A parent can always choose to homeschool or private education for their children.
As a parent of two students enrolled in public schools, I am very concerned that this guidance document places onerous demands on educators, namely teachers and librarians, who are already burdened with an increased workload. I also have significant concerns that the opinions of a few parents will restrict learning opportunities for the majority of students.
Thus, this may chill the ability of educators to select materials for their students to learn from that explore complex and timely themes from a variety of perspectives. This will harm students like mine, because of this chilling effect designed to protect the views of the few objectors. The policy asks schools to, "When determining whether instructional materials contain sexually explicit content, teachers, principals, and division staff should consider student age and maturity, and whether a parent might reasonably consider the instructional content harmful to their child. " Which parent are they supposed to consider? This is the essential problem of all of this. I am a reasonable parent. Am I the standard? Or are the extremists that lie about what schools are try to teach the standard?
When will we trust teachers to do their jobs? Our teachers do not want to harm students. Our teachers and librarians want to educate, empower, and inform them.
Furthermore, the Youngkin administration continues to remove the context of The Code of Virginia, § 1-240.1. The Session Law makes it clear that the language was meant to codify parental rights in the context of a dispute about paternity rights NOT in a context related to public education. Why does the administration continue to misinterpret and misapply the statute?
If we look at the statutory definition of "sexually explicit content" in Virginia Code Section 2.2-2827, the most problematically vague language is "sexual conduct." What does that mean? That could be a slippery slope that has a chilling effect on several learning materials. That is an onerous burden to place on a teacher to make that call.
The standards of one parent should not set the learning standards for the rest of us, but under this chilling policy guidance document; I fear that it would. This is not the way Virginia should treat its teachers or students.
This policy is very vague and burdensome. I understand the goal of this bill is to provide the loud minority a front row seat into our classrooms without doing any of the work but this is not okay. This bill opens the door for teachers, librarians and administrators to get sued simply because a parent disagrees with the curriculum set by the VDOE.
It seems that the ultimate goal of this bill is to undermine public education, if this is in fact your goal, you are on the right track. You will have even fewer educators than you have not, who will be irreplaceable because of how the profession is being treated.
I understand that parents want to play a role in their child's education and they should, most school encourage parents to be involved, but this is definitely not the way to go about it. Do better.
Federal laws already exist that make it illegal to distribute, import, possess, receive, sell, transport sexually explicit material. See 18 US Code 1462, 1465, 1466, 1470. Enforce these laws. Why are you not enforcing the real laws? This is also unconstitutional. Since one’s mind is considered property, and we have an unalienable right to property, any damage to our property (including the very vulnerable minds of children) is considered to be a trespass. The Constitution is the supreme Law of the land and the purpose of our government is to protect our unalienable Rights.
Parents should have a right to review and opt out of sexually explicit content
After reading the Model Policies document, I commend the efforts to reaffirm parents' rights in the education of their children and to give guidance to school boards about sexually explicit materials. The policies articulate reasonable guidelines and demonstrate serious attention to what is age appropriate material. Thank you to Governor Youngkin and the General Assembly for attempting to bring some sense of sanity back to the public square.
Thank you for standing up for all parents rights.
I agree the student’s home must be informed about any unquestionable content. In the last year, several schools are now selective about sharing their curriculum and/or lessons on the website. This is concerning for all citizens as the taxpayers.
For years, I have witnessed too many students allowed to get away with texting and using laptops for inappropriate comments and videos on taxpayer’s money. Many of the students are not learning anything using technology.
Throughout recorded history, parents have been the primary educators of children in all social matters. Giving away the sexual behavior part of that responsibility has been a relatively new idea that now appears to have been a bad one. Trying to force and intimidate parents to undermine their responsibility should be condemned.
This bill does nothing concerning the sexually explicit books in student libraries. VA Law as well as Federal laws all prohibiting sexually explicit materials in the hands of minors. Movies, music, video games and magazines such as Playboy, all have age restrictions. So why is it appropriate for a school to provide the very same material under the guise of education? Why not enforce the laws already on the books to include legal consequences for any school employee responsible in providing such materials to minors? Especially given the recent articles of school employees who have been arrested for having inappropriate touching, sex and relationships with students, it seems almost by design to normalize such topics to either prevent children from turning in their abuser or to further the agenda of MAPS. Let’s also not forget the Communist Goals sworn into the 1963 Congressional Record that states the goal is to corrupt society. The schools are responsible for introducing, what many have described as porn to minors. By the very act of making it available, the message sent is, it is acceptable.
As a parent of 3 children (one recently graduated, 2 high school) I appreciate the efforts to enforce parental notification in the schools. I actually do not see a reason why ANY pedagogical material of sexual nature belongs in the classroom.
Is there a similar bill being crafted to enforce parental notification of anti-racism (CRT) topics and gender identity topics? I'm fed up with my tax dollars supporting this kind of activism in our K-12 school system.
If you have to have alternative materials then why not just teach that in the first place? Sexuality has NOTHING to do with getting a job into college or a trade school...it is unnecessary. The majority of kids have no issue with others and this crap is getting to be a form of sexual harassment.
Gender ideology and sexual orientation should also be included. As a product of FCPS I can assure you that the sex education is a joke anyway. It was an opportunity for bullies to bully and jokes all around. I believe these topics are best kept to parents to teach and the school should stick to math, science, reading, and writing.
Thank you for creating transparency regarding what our children are taught in school and allowing parents to decide the appropriateness of the curriculum for sensitive topics. This autonomy should reside with parents.
This is a good bill as far as it goes; it would be better if it were more inclusive, adding gender identity and racism to the content. It’s so important that parents’ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of their child be upheld. Please at a minimum approve the document as proposed, but preferably add these other items.
By not saying exactly what "sexually explicit" material is, it leaves too much room for interpretation. Is the showing of couples explicit? Or will school boards single out trans and queer couples and identities as explicit. There is nothing explicit about someone being their true selves. And this slippery slope could lead to even more censorship in the future, for the protection of all students please do not listen to those suggesting anti-racism and gender identity should be considered explicit.
As a Virginia Beach public schools parent for the last nine years, with children ranging from kindergarten to high school, I am unsure of the reasoning behind this law other than political reasons. I can only assume what is being referred to as “sexually explicit content” applies only to upper-grade literature, where warnings are already given to students and parents and students are already permitted to review content and may opt out and request suitable replacements at any time. In fact, at least in Virginia Beach, parents are always able to do this at any point in their child’s education. I learned this when I served on a committee to review material that had been challenged by members of the school board due to explicit content being present. I think it would be more helpful to parents and students and less divisive to educators if there were an emphasis on raising awareness of existing policies that are already in place and being followed as opposed to stoking fear among parents about content that their children will likely never encounter. Our educators and our children deserve better.
First step in bringing back sanity to our schools. Parents not the schools should have complete say in what is allowed to be taught to our Children. Stick to Math,sciences, leave out social agenda
Sexually Explicit Content should only be relegated to legal approved content for children. Any 'explicit' content should be evaluated based off of the laws that protect our children from said content. I would hope that this will be within the confines of those laws! Parent choice should always be a consideration with sexually explicit content as well since this impacts the family dynamics.
Much of the concerns parents have regarding sexually explicit materials in our public schools have come about specifically due to books approved, stocked and promoted by school librarians. Nevertheless, librarians are not covered by this proposed policy. Why are librarians enjoying a special exception to these proposed regulations? This is unacceptable. Librarians are the ones who brought these obscene books into schools in the first place. There is no process from preventing them from continuing to do so. Once they are in libraries, there is little parents can do. Obscene and age inappropriate materials do not belong in school libraries
Although notification of sexually explicit materials in schools (except in libraries) is a good start, this proposal does not address notification of classroom content in gender ideology, "anti-racist" lessons and campaigns either through classroom display or assignments. It does not address inappropriate SEL curricula that violates student and parent privacy through surveys and lessons many of which are administered by unqualified teachers who are not therapists. It does not address lessons that present and promote Marxist principles in positive lights. It does not address presentation of lessons that portray our country as evil while portraying other cultures in positive lights. It does not address lessons whose purpose is the encouragement of student participation in political social justice campaigns. All of the aforementioned actions contribute to a hostile learning environment which should not be present in our schools.
I also do not see any mechanism or process for enforcing or overseeing violations of this statute. We have already seen numerous examples of school divisions taking a defiant stance against any and all efforts to address the above stated objections. Where and what is the enforcement mechanism for violations of this statute?
Parental notification, review, and consent should be for ALL MATERIAL that students may encounter in the course of their education within the State. Education of children, is, first-and-foremost, the responsibility of the PARENTS and NOT THE STATE (or any government). The State (government) is there to assist the parent/citizen and not to over-ride them. Simply limiting this to "sexually explicit" material, while helpful, doesn't go far enough. I don't want the children exposed to political one-sided material that isn't balanced. I don't want children exposed to CRT (or how Fairfax County attempts to hide CRT by using terms like "equity") that is an unbalanced view of history/civics/society. This policy should leaves too much room for potential abuse by nefarious individuals who want to push their personal agenda and "life philosophy" on the children. In summary, this is a good/solid start but needs to go further to protect children, parents, and families from unethical and immoral forces that have driven our society in the wrong direction.
I have taught in two major Universities, one a typical state school, the other a private religious institution. Both Universities had a School of Education. The material taught in both schools was very similar, if not sometimes, Identical. The modern system doesn't encourage parental involvement.To that end, this proposal should be structured in such a way as to allow the parents to have a role in their students education.
Sexually explicit materials have no place in a public school setting. Our children will be adults soon enough and be able to make their own choices, but as long as we are parents, we have been given the right and the moral obligation to protect them. Parent should have the final say. Please ensure that parents have full authority to opt out of any material which is questionable.
I do not see any requirements/policies for teachers to only use instructional materials approved by the county.
parents get to decide not teachers and not the administrators look where that got us!
Support Guidance. Thank you legislators and Governor Youngkin.
I know this may sound too simple - but would someone tell me why we are discussing sexually explicit material to our children in the schools to begin with. From my reading we are forcing parents now to come up with material to replace the sexually explicit material for their child. The question must be asked as to why parents are sending their children to government schools to begin with when they need to constantly monitor what other adults are teaching their children. I cannot see any reason for any type of sexually explicit material as described in the PDF document that I read to be taught to any child. I think any adult that is teaching explicit sexual material as described in the attached PDF should be fired on the spot.
In Virginia Beach, there are teachers, librarians and librarian assistants that are recommending books to students to check out. It appears that library books are not included in these policies; however, please consider that if a book is being recommended by a teacher, librarian or other school staff it should be considered instructional material. Here is just one example of librarians recommending sexually explicit materials: instagram.com/marlinlmc
I have 3 Fcps students. Virginia has explicit set standards, processes and public review for textbook approval in its public schools. However, very few public schools in Virginia use textbooks in the classrooms. With 3 kids, 4 different FCPS schools and collective 28 grades in the system, the only textbooks my kids have received and used are for the high school college board AP classes. For all other classes, the schools either use outside, unvetted, often no bid contract, online companies, or material that teachers and district specialists have sourced independently via the internet and teacher sharing sites. This movement away from pre-vetted, state approved, publicly accessible textbooks, to unvetted, individually chosen outside state approval, public scrutiny, and sunlight review processes, has created a situation that is ripe for misuse, abuse, inappropriate material, biased material, indoctrination and controversy. Additionally, parents must request time intensive, and often expensive FOIA requests to even view the material taught to their children, often being told no due to "intellectual property" of the vendors, or are stonewalled, given incomplete curriculums, or sude by the school districts. Precious school resources are wasted on laswuits and fighting with oarents, over material that should be open and accessible for anyone who wants to see it, just as textbooks are and as the system was originally designed to do. Also, many of these vendors are engaging in data mining of our kids, collecting information about their feelings, families and intimate sexual details, in a way that is easily tracked back to the individual students through their designated school computer. How is this information safeguarded and who has access to it? Many of these tech companies providing education services are heavily invested in by communist China. Will tuis intimate information of our students be accessible to them, brought out at a later date when they go for a job or for a security clearance.
1) Virginia has an explicit defined process for textbook approval. Digital programs have replaced textbooks in all orost schools. These digital programs must be covered by and subject to the same scrutiny that are defined by the state as the proper channel to approve textbooks.
2) Any digital surveys or data collection of student information must be opt in only, with informed parent consent detailing the vendor, its ownership structure, any foreign investors, what data is collected, what the survey questions are, where the data is stored, how long the data is stored, and who has access to the data. OPT IN, not opt out.
3) All education material must meet state standards for workplace sexual harrassment. Schools are a workplace for the adults, and critical environments for captive audiences of children. If a book or curriculum would get you fired or sued if you showed it to your subordinate or coworker, then it has no place in the schools. Schools should not contain sexually graphic material that cannot be read outloud at a school board meeting, over the airways or at a workplace setting. Elementary schools do not allow movies to be shown in the classroom that are not G rated. All books available in elementary school and libraries should meet this standard. Middle schools and even high schools do not allow movies to be shown in the classroom that are not PG rated. All books available in middle and high school libraries must meet the same standards.
4) Explicit lessons should be also be opt in only, not opt out. My kids have been asked explicit questions in school surveys about specific sex acts. In 10th grade health, the students were shown a video of an adult male undressing, getting into the shower, taking a shower and giving himself a full prostrate and penile exam, with the camera focused on his naked penis for much of the video (FCPS 10th grade fle). This lesson could be taught in a much less explicit and graphic way than a 10 minute video of a naked man taking a shower and focused on his penis. FLE starting in middle school often details explicit explanations of specific sex acts, that far exceed the intent and purpose of the state mandates for FLE. Because these programs are opt out, many parents, particularly newer immigrant families with language difficulties, do not realize or understand how explicit and grapic these programs have become, at younger and younger grades. Perhaps creating some differentiation between the critical FLE information, grade by grade, such as hygiene at the youngest grades, body changes and basic reproduction in upper elementary, stds and pregnancy for the older grades as opt out, and explicit material informed consent opt in would be a way to deal with this issue.
So much controversy could be avoided by taking those steps:
Making these changes will improve education, protect students and student data, lessen lawsuits and controversy thus saving money, provide oversight and daylight, and align with the Virginia parent rights as defined in the Virginia code.
*** PLEASE work in a bipartisan way to protect student data, particularly with regards to outside vendors brought in to survey students. The suveys are intrusive and intimate, taking a snapshot of the kids inner musings that will be a part of their digital footprint forever, by unvetted outside vendors awarded the contract often through non bid or hidden processes, violating many of the sunlight requirements for government contracts. School districts are paying outside companies hundreds of thousands, often millions of dollars to data mine and indoctrinate out kids. This is not a partisan issue. Out kids rights to digital privacy must be protected. Please make this issue a priority for the VA legislature. Many of you no longer have kids in schools so you are unaware of how invasive the outside surveys have become, how intimate the questions are, and how little control the kids and parents have of their personal information, given to these companies by the school districts.***
Please also make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents first. I am concerned that, unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance.
I support these critically important model policies in order to protect children from inappropriate sexual content at school and to respect parents’ right to determine whether their children are exposed to this content.
Not only do parents have a fundamental right to make these decisions, but they are also in the best position to know what is appropriate for their unique children.
Please make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents first. I am concerned that, unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance.
As a retired Registered Nurse, I am incredibly perplexed that children are being taught so much before they are mentally, emotionally and developmentally ready through our public school system. I am sure that Educators were required to take child growth and development. I believe that every single child—including and especially those struggling with sexual confusion—should be protected from harm and harassment. There is no question of that. And Virginia has a good anti-bullying law. But this new, proposed policy goes way beyond prevention and crosses the line into mandatory promotion of politicized, sexualized ideology.
I support these critically important model policies in order to protect children from inappropriate sexual content at school and to respect parents’ right to determine whether their children are exposed to this content. Please also make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents first. I am concerned that, unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance.
I support these critically important model policies that are designed to protect children from sexual content at school and to respect parents' right to determine whether their children are exposed to this content. It is also equally important to make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents FIRST! I am concerned that unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance. For instance, in Arlington Public Schools, teachers are given the state FLE guidelines and then the teachers can decide how and what they teach in class. There is not a specific curriculum that teachers in APS are required to teach. As a former APS parent, it was very difficult to know in advance what each teacher was going to cover in FLE (Family Life Education), in any given grade. It has been designed that way, so that parents really don't know what their kids are being taught in FLE. In recent years, APS has been introducing sexual content in English and History classes, etc...outside of FLE. This must stop. Our public schools are no longer safe learning environments for students. Hopefully SB 656 will change course for the betterment of all students.
I support these critically important model policies in order to protect children from inappropriate sexual content at school and to respect parents’ right to determine whether their children are exposed to this content.
Not only do parents have a fundamental right to make these decisions, but they are also in the best position to know what is appropriate for their unique children. Please make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents first. I am concerned that, unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance.
Virginia Department of Education
SB656 Draft Model Policies
Draft - Model Policies Concerning Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content
Appendix 1: Sample Policy
Section III: Identification of Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content
Add to Paragraph A
Add to Paragraph B.
I support these critically important model policies in order to protect children from inappropriate sexual content at school and to respect parents’ right to determine whether their children are exposed to this content. Not only do parents have a fundamental right to make these decisions, but they are also in the best position to know what is appropriate for their unique children. Please also make sure through this document that there are certain specific actions that every school MUST take in order to ensure sexually explicit materials are correctly identified and seen by parents first. I am concerned that, unless certain minimum standards are expressly mandated (as opposed to providing examples or suggestions), many schools may find ways around what they consider to be mere guidance.