First, every school division in Virginia already has regulations and policies in place that meet the requirements of both the Model Policies and SB656. Moving forward with this will only cause confusion and community angst.
All VDOE needs to do is say to districts "All divisions already meet these requirements. There is no need for a new policy."
What will happen is that some Division Counsels, Superintendents, School Boards, Principals, Teachers, committees, and community members, will misinterpret the law; there will be, in some instances, a panicked effort to removre materials (Bowdlerize our collections and books) to avoid complaints.
Oh my. As a result, many students in Virginia will have a substandard education and will be seriously undereducated in comparison to students in other parts of our country. Virginia candidates will be less qualified.
What you will get is a bunch of lawsuits; one wonders if that is the purpose of SB656; clearly, because it actually changes nothing in actual practice (all schools already meet the requirements): to create lawsuits and public outcry. I hope not.
So be truthful, be strong. Say "The regulations are already met; there is no need for further action by SB in January 2023; and, the GA and Governor need to write a better-thoughtout bill with more input from stakeholders, if they want to have an impact.
Robert Rigby, Jr.
Co-President, FCPS Pride