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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8/2/22  10:08 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Slippery Slope

The "Model Policies" seem like a gateway policy for censorship. Teachers are professionals who have undergone lengthy coursework and training in order to do their jobs.  There are also checks and balances at the building, county, and state level - observations, mentorships, peer coaching, collaboration, professional development, licensing, etc. - which ensure teachers are following curriculum.  With the "Model Policies" implemented as currently written, many texts, most of which are considered "cannon" or "classics" in public schools, would be in question including:  Shakespeare's plays and poems, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Milton's Paradise Lost, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Orwell's 1984.  Frankly, so would The Bible.  Context matters and a term like "explicit" is entirely too fluid for a policy like this.  School systems currently have processes for dealing with supplemental texts in accordance with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 USC § 1232H and The Code of Virginia, § 1-240.1  The current procedures allow for transparency and dialogue with parents versus the Model Policies which seem more like a blanket "gotcha" policy that could engender a culture of fear and disrespect.  Please allow teachers to do the job for which they have been trained, use professional judgement in implementing curriculum, and work alongside parents who might have concerns over texts versus implementing a one-size-fits-all policy.  

CommentID: 124677