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
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
1/14/14  2:50 pm
Commenter: Metz

Reject the amendment

      As an English teacher, I feel adding an amendment such as this would do a great disservice to our students. Not only does it completely negate a teacher's authority and professional judgment, after all we all have at least one college degree, it almost gaurantees the censorship of many pieces of literature taught on the high school level. In any literature where sensitive topics appear, those topics are treated with care as well as any discussions within the classroom. If an English teacher chooses to use one of those piece of literature, it is not for shock value; literature is used to create feelings within readers that can help students facilitate change, break barriers, find a voice, broaden viewpoints, find one's identity,create empathy and sympathy. Those same students are given the chance to read literature that exposes them to new ideas, cultures, and voices. With guidance, they approach the texts as young adults and work to craft their opinions and dialogue in a meaningful way. To deny this experience is to begin to shut them down as young adults and continue to baby them through their education. Being a teacher means being able to use professional judgment, while one class might enjoy or be mature enough to handle mature texts and conversations, another might not and therefore it is up to the teacher to decide what to teach and to whom.

I understand that some parents want to be involved in the lives and education of their children, but if that is the case, ask the student what he or she is studying, check out the book from the library and read it together. Have meaningful discussions at home about the text with the student. Sheltering a young adult from sensitive topics does not help him or her face the issues, ask questions, or be exposed to a wide variety of opinions from his or her peers.


CommentID: 30473