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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12/23/13  12:18 am
Commenter: Former PS Teacher/Current parent of MS Student

Please Reject - Let's move forward, not backward...

As a former public school teacher, (left to teach in a univ. in 2011), I can honestly say, the books that are considered "sensitive" or "controversial" are the topics that are of issue to our students today. The issues of abuse, bullying, sexual development & curiosity, death, suicide, body insecurities, learning disabilities, family issues - are covered in many of the books that would be "banned" or labeled under this amendment. The same parents who "opt out" of family planning ed, are the same ones pulling for this legislation, and (from my experience) are often the same ones who have children that end up not knowing about their bodies & end up pregnant or suffering from an abusive relationship because their parents' heads are in the sand about the realities of the 21st century. However, these issues are not JUST limited to current day - the musical "Spring Awakening" is based on a book by a German author & was written in the 1890s! It deals with the same things that our students are facing today & by all accounts, would be banned if this was to pass, because parents are often uncomfortable discussing certain things in detail & truthfully with their children & discusses "hot button" topics. That is why Family Life ed. was created, to help stem the uptick in unplanned teenage pregnancies in the 1980s - and it worked. 

Not allowing thought provoking discussions to occur in a safe environment will not help  children, it will only stifle their growth as human beings. It will only keep them less educated, less able to creatively problem solve real-world issues, not allow history to come to life, or gain an insight to things that they have not experienced but should know about before they encounter it in the real world. And, if as a parent, one wants to know what they are reading, ASK THE TEACHER! Most school systems have interactive websites where one logs in & can see a child's grades, assignments, & a list of books on a reading list for the upcoming assignments a student has. If one is unfamiliar with a book, google it, look it up on Amazon, ask another parent, or (WOWZERS!), ask the teacher via phone call or e-mail, what it is about! They will be more than happy that a parent is A) involved in their child's education & B) wants to touch base & find out how their child is doing.

By all means, do NOT pass this amendment. This will have a snowball effect into every other course that is taught. This is not the way to go - be proactive in our students' education, but you all are not the teacher - the teacher is - not the politician and not the parent. The teacher. Trust their education & the school system that went thru the process to hire them. Thank you.

CommentID: 29778