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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1/15/14  10:30 am
Commenter: Jamie Banton, Rustburg High School

Please Reject the Amendments

The limiting language of the proposed amendment is arbitrary, unclear, and opens the door for a chaotic approval/disapproval process of "sensitive" materials. The term sensitive itself is subjective, and there are few pieces of literature (classical or otherwise) that lack controversial subject matter. A work as tame as "Pride and Prejudice" contains topics offensive to some groups.

Teachers (the ones I know) welcome parental involvement. Procedures are already in place for alternate assignments for works someone may consider offensive. If we were to cut out every "sensitive" piece of writing, English teachers especially would be left with a small, not very interesting, library from which to pull, and the engagement of students to that literature would suffer.

Reading and writing skill development requires a certain level of trust - for teachers, students, and parents. Communication, not the classification of materials, works best. How can we expect to develop critical thinkers, writers, and readers if we do not give them anything to think critically about?

CommentID: 30646