I am vehemently opposed to the model policy concerning instructional materials with sexually explicit content. As an educator for the last 33 years, I can not recall a time outside of family life when I witnessed direct instruction using sexually explicit content. At least not sexually explicit by my definition. That in part is the problem I have with the policy. Both the terms instruction and sexually explicit are not clearly defined. Is a book a high school student chooses to read from their classroom library "instructional"? Does the material need to be used for direct instruction? If so, then the policy should include that wording. Where is the line for "sexually explicit"? Is any discussion of an LGBTQ character or lifestyle explicit? What exactly is sexual content? Does the age or the maturity of the student matter? Does the overall literary or artistic merit of the work matter?
This legislation and policy in my opinion seem to be setting up a paper tiger. Judging from the comments that I have read it would seem that many parents are under the assumption that "pornographic," "explicit" materials are regularly being used in direct instruction. Comments state that "I don't want my 'young' child exposed to... " I don't believe that young children are being exposed to highly sexualized materials instructionally in Virginia's schools. Words are powerful and words like "explicit" are intentionally being used to incite rather than inform.
Do you want to know what is going on in your child's classroom? Volunteer in your child's school, ask questions, talk to you child about what they are learning at school. Parents have always had input into their child's school experience and the resources that their students use. There are policies ALREADY in place to request alternative assignments. Concerned parents can ALREADY review the materials that their students read and view. Where have conversations with your child, partnership with your child's teachers and positive involvement in your child's school gone?
This policy is unclear, unnecessary, and has the potential to add even more divisiveness to our school communities.