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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Education
 
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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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7/17/22  10:59 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Don't Censor Libraries
 

My name is Erin Mather and I’m the parent of two school-children in Fairfax County, VA.

As a kid, I struggled with depression and feeling like I didn’t fit in. My only outlet was books. I was a voracious reader who regularly camped out in the library reading everything I could get my hands on. I was looking for a different world, but examples were few and far between. Imagine my surprise when I went to college and discovered a whole world of books out there, books that mysteriously hadn’t been available in the Texas schools where I grew up. They were likely thinking the same thing that the writers of this bill were thinking; they were “protecting kids” by preventing them from seeing “inappropriate material”. But what they really did was remove any material from the library that did not conform to stereotypical gender roles. Stories where a girl goes off and saves the day, perhaps disguising herself as boy? Potentially too queer, I guess, for this straight girl to read.

I beg you to please don’t pass this bill. I suffered needlessly for way too long. I wanted stories that didn’t conform to stereotypes, because I didn’t want to be a person who conformed to stereotypes! Kids today should have more opportunities than I had back then.

We all know that if this bill passes, books that are perceived as queer, whether or not they actually are, will be the first to go. Do the proponents of this bill think that young women should be allowed to go into STEM fields? How will they be encouraged in that effort without stories of other young people defying gender stereotypes?

I know you will have many LGBTQ+ people writing in about how this bill will affect them. They deserve to see people like them reflected in the stories they read. I wanted to make sure the legislators know that this bill will negatively affect everyone. This bill serves no one. A great diversity of books, so everyone can find something, is the best way to run a library.

The government has no business regulating people in this way.

CommentID: 122658