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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12/20/13  8:50 am
Commenter: Amanda Creasey, Colonial Heights High School

Controversy and Critical Thinking for Responsible World Citizenship

As an English teacher who is concerned about the ability of our students to think critically as well as to grow into sensitive, perceptive citizens of the world, I take issue with the idea of censoring literature. Literature can introduce students to ideas and controversies they may never have considered on their own, and can expose them to various viewpoints to which they may not have given any thought. Literature that presents controversial or sensitive material can help students develop means with which to cope with these topics, and can help teach them to think critically and openly about viewpoints that may challenge their own thinking or opinions. In addition, literature exposes young people to perspectives that may differ from theirs, and can help teach them not only to consider another's perspective, but also to think about how to defend their own. We cannot forever shelter young people from the realities of the world; instead, we must prepare them to tackle head-on the issues they will face as adults in a forever-changing and sometimes volatile world.

As a final point, I will add this: Think of how many quality pieces of literature this could limit. Of Mice and Men, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird--among others. All of these could be put at risk if this goes through.

CommentID: 29743