My name is Katherine White, I am from Annandale, Virginia.
I have serious concerns about the VDOE’s model policies concerning instructional materials with “sexually explicit content,” a broadly vague term that could be applied to important works of literature like "The Good Earth" or even the Bible. This is not about educating our kids, it is about dark money funding the attacks to undermine public education to destroy the bedrock of our democracy - at our kids expense.
As a Virginia resident, I raised my children in the Virginian school system. I volunteered with the PTA and always felt involved and heard. What we are experiencing now is a direct attack on public education. The attacks are funded by special interests groups that are linked to the Republican party who has ALWAYS wanted to defund public education. Our children deserve to learn and be critical thinkers. Sex is not bad or dirty - and the school system has always presented age appropriate information to students. Parents are already informed and can view the curriculum beforehand.
I have been witness to the school board meeting where these outsiders come to disrupt and attack elected school board members. I actually witnessed an elderly man who had NO kids in the district but was sent by his church to come attack the school board. He actually was going through the school's teaching on history and other books to look for any line he disagreed with - it was insane! Students who spoke care about their future. They care about climate change and freedom to learn. Has anyone asked the students what they want in an education? This is where they spend their whole day - and adults who are politically motivated and want to impose their religious beliefs on others are being disruptive and so ugly. Our kids are the ones suffering. But it seems no one is really listening to them.
If this policy covers EVERY items a teacher teaches or the library offers - it is misguided and plain CENSORSHIP of thought. If this is about specific materials just about sex education that is about SEX education. Then I think parents can be sent a form to opted out. But in my experience, this already happens! I always got notified about lessons on human sexuality and my ability as a parent to send my kid or not.
In my view and from what I have witnessed first hand at school board meetings - this is politically motivated by the REPUBLICAN party to hurt students, dumb down education, and defund public education.
Virginia students deserve to learn free from censorship and political interference.
It is for these reasons that I oppose the proposed model policies.
Katherine White, Annandale, VA