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  3:10 pm
Commenter: Elizabeth Oliver, William Byrd High School

What is literature but the spectrum of humanity?

Isn't literature supposed to teach, to inform, to catapult readers into the lives of others? We as teachers know that the arts promote empathy and awareness. Cosequently, don't we want our children to mold their own sense of morality through reading, analysis, and inference? Don't we want our children to experience the wide array of history, culture, mythology, and human nature as portrayed through the literature of the past and present?

We teachers are trained, experienced, and aware of our youth: we simply will not provide our students with material they should not be exposed to. Furthermore, we already encourage parent involvement: parents are given access to syllabi at the first of the year, and with outside reading assignments students and parents are often given a wide list of works to choose from, promoting the participation of parents.

As teachers, we put our students first. Every day we ensure their safety, well being, self-esteem, and hopefully their continuation of learning. Don't tamper with our ability to teach reasoning, critical thinking, analysis, and empathy. We are overworked enough; let us at least have the satisfaction of allowing our students to engage in the entire spectrum of humanity, without having to contact parents about every passage of every work we teach; for material is subjective, and what constitutes one passage as inappropriate and the other as worthy? And what happens in society rife with censorship? Have we not read those dystopian novels? Have we not seen the implication within both our history, our culture, and our literature?

CommentID: 30480