Agencies | Governor
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  3:43 pm
Commenter: Cynthia A Albert

Strongly oppose SB 656

I strongly oppose SB 656 and the policies it models.

The term, "sexually explicit content", is too broadly defined. It could be used to limit access to books such as Diary of Anne Frank or Ulysses by James Joyce. 

Classrooms should be a place where students are exposed to new ideas and learn about a variety of viewpoints. They can ask questions and learn to agree or disagree with grace. The proposedmodel policies could lead to the exclusion of valuable instructional materials that introducestudents to LGBTQ+ stories and experiences, especially those by or for Black, Indigenous,and people of color. Even worse, they could potentially prevent LGBTQ+ youth from
accessing life-saving information about themselves. 

It has been proven that parents are invaluable teachers in their children’s lives, and their influence is one of the strongest on a child. Teachers, librarians, and education experts have years of experience and are well equipped to introduce diverse and sometimes difficult subjects into the classroom while mitigating the harm and trauma these subjects may cause their students. The proposed model policies would make it harder for these educators to do their job and will likely result in censorship due to teacher and librarian’s fear or confusion over what qualifies as “sexually explicit content.”

Representation matters, and all Virginia students deserve to learn free from censorship and political interference. Virginia students deserve to grow up into brave, courageous people who value diversity and inclusion. 

It is for these reasons that I oppose the proposed model policies.

Cynthia Albert

Alexandria, VA

CommentID: 124598