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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1/14/14  10:31 pm
Commenter: Allison SCPS

Too vague amendment could open a can of worms

This amendment is much too vague. What is considered "sensitive?" Profanity; which words? Violence; which kind? Would students require a permission slip to read works by Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemenway, Shakespeare? What about The Cather and the Rhy? What would be considered "sexually explicit?" I would consider "explicit" to be something like 50 Shades of Grey, but would someone else consider it to be like A Farewell to Arms? What about sensitive subjects in Social Studies like the Holocaust, slavery, civil rights, and modern day FGM, especially in an AP or IB setting? How much extra cost will this add to school budgets for paper and copy supplies for every student to have a detailed permission slip for any novel, article or textbook dealing with a sensitive subject?

Most districts have an approved book list by grade level, and an approval and justification procedure for any book not on the list.  If there are districts that do not have this process in place, why not require them to adopt some sort of similar policy? The state already requires a syllabus for all high school classes, and AP courses require teachers to submit theirs for approval to the College Board. Aren't parents given a list of subjects and materials at the begining of the course which would allow them to preview any questionable work ahead of time? This amendment would add too many subjective regulations that will only lead to higher costs for our schools, unnecessary additional work for our teachers, and students who are unprepared for AP and college courses all without any additional benefits or protection for the students. In the end, it would hurt, not help, Virginia schools.

CommentID: 30547