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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12/17/13  10:43 am
Commenter: Matthew Uselton, BCPS

Reject the amendment.

There are two issues at hand with the amendment concerning notification of sensitive and sexually explicit materials. The first is the definition of "sensitive". To what degree and to what subjects are we assigining the term "sensistive"? Murder, violence, infedelity, the supernatural, LGBT issues, race--all of these can be deemed "sensitive" in nature because of their ability to cause discomfort in an audience. To which I say, good. As we create citizens of the world, students must be able to move beyond their comfort levels and learn to address and solve sometimes delicate problems. Do not discount the benefits of making our students deal with tough issues, and where better to do that than in the safety of an intelligent and well run classroom.

That leads to the second issue at hand, the trust of teachers to know the audience they are teaching and to choose texts that speak to the needs of their students. I cannot think of a single teacher that ever said, "I will teach book X because of the shocking sex scene." Teachers have an inherent sensitivity to thier students, and strive to provide them with the BEST possible texts to better help them understand themselves and the world around them. Please trust your teachers to make the right decisions for our classrooms and do not simply hinder us with more red tape.

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