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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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7/18/22  11:47 am
Commenter: Ian Springer-Woods

The point of a school is to rely on experts. Why aren't we?

This policy is the proverbial solution in search of a problem. The entire focus on "sexually explicit content" was not a real concern until it became politically expedient, and we should all ask ourselves why that is. Parents who have concerns about content have always had an appropriate level of negotiation power and leverage to advocate for what their own child has access to on an individual basis, but they should never have the right to force an adjustment of the entire curriculum or knowledge access for any other child. Nor should they have the right to place undue burdens on educators by requesting teaching materials far in advance. 

Far too often, groups in our communities have decided that their personal opinion on an issue is somehow more important than the measured perspectives of people who spend their lives studying to understand a particular field. Educators who are being honest and spending years of their lives trying to understand the psychology of kids at various ages and stages know more about the educational needs of the community of children as a whole than individual parents. 

In addition, much of the content that some (mostly a loud minority) of parents want blocked is content that has clear educational, and in many cases safety, value. Some of that content has to do with education about real-world history, some has to do with being honest and open about real-world groups that exist in the present, and other elements of that content warn children about how to recognize dangers so that they do not become victims to predators. 

Nothing in this policy draft provides any advancement of the goals of education in our K-12 school systems. Instead, it seeks to interfere with aspects of the teacher-parent-child relationship that should be managed at the individual level, not with sweeping policies from the State. The entire issue should be dropped immediately. 

CommentID: 122713