Agencies | Governor
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 Ends 1/15/2014
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1/13/14  9:16 pm
Commenter: Meg Stout, Parent

I support granting parents advance notice of potentially disturbing content

I am very glad to see this amendment put forward. I have three daughters, all of whom have been or are attending Annandale High School.

I very much appreciate the move to allow parents (and necessarily children) the chance to know in advance if teachers plan to include materials that could be disturbing.

Although it is possible for parents and students to investigate upcoming assignments, I do think it would be beneficial if teachers alerted us to potentially disturbing course content.

My oldest daughter was assigned to visit an exhibit at the Hirschorn that included multiple photographic works of women after having been raped. The subjects were typically nude and bloodied. It would have been nice to know that before we visited the gallery.

Around the same time a friend of my daughter committed suicide. I remember before her death there had been a program at a non-school youth gathering talking about sexual activity and consequences. This was something she had an opportunity to opt out of, which she did. For reasons I can only guess at, discussion of sexual activity was highly disturbing to her.  I imagine required reading that included sexually explicit  or violent material would be particularly unsettling to students like her, who have some past experience all-too directly aligned with what the teacher would have thought was merely "educational."

In discussing this matter with my daughters, they also feel that it is important that students, if uncomfortable, be allowed to request alternate material without being penalized or belittled, independent of whether the parent comes to the fore.



Meg Stout

Annandale, VA


CommentID: 30305