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).
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
7/7/22  2:16 pm
Commenter: Stephen DeVita

Resolve Doubt in Favor of Parents, Community Awareness
  1. Sec. V, ADD New Para D:  "D.  In accordance with Para1.C of the Act, schools may include provisions more comprehensive that the model policies such as a provision for community awareness of all instructional materials identified by the school as containing sexually explicit content. 
  2. [Rationale:  The community also has a vested interest in ensuring that exposure of minors to sexually explicit content is not criminal in nature, does not constitute child abuse or neglect and that it otherwise comports with community standards per the U.S. Supreme Court.]
  3. Sample Policy Sec. II, Para C:  The following sentence excludes certain library materials from the model policies:  "Library materials are considered instructional materials when used (i) for completion of an assignment, or (ii) as part of an academic or extracurricular educational program.  This includes any division, school, and/or classroom purchased or created assessments."
  4. [Rationale:  Library materials that are not "used" for completion of an assignment or as part of an academic or extracurricular program are implicitly exempted from the model policy.  So, a teacher permits a minor to access classroom materials without being assigned or as part of a program is potentially exposing the child to sexually explicit content without compliance with the model policy.  This language should be revised to include any materials otherwise available to students.  Also, the last sentence is confusing.  Are classroom libraries covered or not, or, does this only refer to assessments?]
  5. App. 1, Sample Policy, Sec. III, Para B, add after the first sentence:  "The list of such materials may be publicly posted on the school's webpage for community awareness, but at a minimum all parents of the school must be notified."
  6. [Rationale:  While community awareness is not mentioned in the Act, the law does permit schools to have more comprehensive provisions.  The Department would be remiss in failing to make schools aware of this option and would also be perceived as attempting to exclude concerned parents in the process.  As mentioned above, the community has compelling concerns of equal weight to parents in specific.]
  7. Last sentence of Sec. III, Para B, Sample Policy:  ADD:  "If there is any doubt whatsoever about whether the content is sexually explicit, school shall resolve all doubt in favor of notifying parents and (the public if applicable).
  8. Sec. III, Para C, Sample Policy, Explain the PG and TV ratings in more detail.
CommentID: 122210