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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1/14/14  8:45 am
Commenter: Hallie Ragsdale

Do Not Approve!

As a parent and an educator, I do not support this amendment. 

I have never censored my 10-yr old daughter's reading, and do not plan to. I trust her teachers to encourage critical thinking and to apply the lessons her parents have taught her to help her evaluate and think about the materials from school.

As a teacher, I find the micro-management of my job becoming more cumbersome every year. I believe my job as an educator is to teach my students HOW, not what, to think, and I actively promote different sides of the issues that come up in my class. Since I teach English, there are many potential viewpoints on the various works we read. If this amendment passed, I would be very worried about who got to decide what was controversial or objectionable. I have many years of education and continuing training to ensure that I am qualified in my position, and I would appreciate being trusted to do the job that I was hired to do. 

I keep open lines of communication with the parents of my students, and have had some fruitful discussion of ideas and texts with many of them. None have ever said their child should not read a particular work. Our school board and administrators also encourage and promote parent involvement at every level in our school system.

I make very clear in the materials I send to parents what texts we are reading. While we have had spirited debates in the classroom, I know that I am doing my job in making the diverse viewpoints of my students welcome, and opening their eyes to issues that they may not encounter directly in our small, rural county.

Education should broaden the mind, and literature, in particular, should introduce people to those who are not like them and who may think or be very different. This amendment would further narrow the scope of the education we are offering our children, and limit their world to the SOL (which is beginning to experience a backlash in the legislature) and non-offensive (whatever that means) material which will not prepare them for the global and economic challenges ahead.

CommentID: 30363