Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions [8 VAC 20 ‑ 720]
Action Amendments Regarding Use of Controversial or Sensitive Instructional Materials
Comment Period Ended on 1/15/2014
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12/16/13  10:35 am

What is "sensitive" information?

What is sensitive information?  What is "sensitive" to one person is often not controversial to another.  Therefore, teachers would have to make lists of every possible text in order to adequately notify parents regarding what their children would be reading.  This is not only an undue burden on the teacher but also a stifling influence in the classroom.  New or current materials wouldn't be able to be incorporated because they weren't listed at the beginning of the year, and notifying each and every parent of the new text would be a burden that few teachers would undergo mid-year.

Further, students deserve the right to discuss and ask questions about controversial issues.  It's how they learn to think.  While no teacher should tell their students what to think, every teacher should teach their students how to think - how to analyze both sides of an issue and make an informed decision.  Our world is full of gray areas, where right and wrong aren't always clear-cut.  If we pretend that our world is a fairy-tale place where the good guy always wins and the bad guy is always punished, we aren't preparing students for what they'll face once they leave high school.

Please do not pass this amendment as it is currently written.  While I understand that the intention is good, the implementation of such a regulation would be devastating to our efforts to reform and improve twenty-first century education.

CommentID: 29619