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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1/8/14  2:57 pm
Commenter: W Whited, Prince George County Schools

Salivating Ministers of Truth

This is a bad proposal.

Not only would the vague language of this amendment open a Pandora’s box of arbitrary objections and unnecessary demands but it would place the burden of compliance firmly in the lap of the teacher. It would be a colossal waste of time and energy that could be better spent developing new and innovative ways to challenge our students’ thinking rather than painstakingly sifting through texts to determine what may or may not be sensitive or explicit.

While I cannot speak for other school divisions, ours already sends out notification of supplemental materials that are used during the course of the year. This provides parents the opportunity to review the materials without the undue burden placed upon the teacher to specify what is “sensitive” or sexually explicit. When a parent has an objection, those objections are addressed and adjustments are made when they are called for. The language in this amendment would have Orwell’s ministers of Truth salivating.

In a misguided attempt to mollify the vocal concerns of some parents the Board of Education has proposed an amendment that will threaten the very critical thinking skills they so adamantly propound. This is neither wise nor desirable and will unleash the potential for spurious objections, unanticipated restrictions and unnecessary demands on teachers.

CommentID: 29907