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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1/6/14  9:32 am
Commenter: Kara Kimball, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Ambiguous Censorship

The ambiguous nature of this law has been pointed out by several others before me--but I'll reiterate, because it seems that some people don't quite understand.  Most school districts have already placed a list of "approved texts" on their websites. Teachers pull from this list, and handle any "sensitive" material in the best way that they can. Requiring teachers to determine what is "sensitive" seems to be putting 100% of the blame on them, instead of the school districts for whom they work. As a teacher, I obviously view this as completely unfair; how can I be blamed for teaching an approved text? 


Also, as far as "sensitive" goes, how do we define this?  Is it anything sexually explicit?  Is it anything violent?  Is it anything that is hard to discuss, like suicide or genocide?  The English classroom should be a place where students feel free to express themselves and work through the tough topics in a community of learners.  To stifle this freedom would be nothing short of censorship.


Please reject this ammendment; it should be dealt with in the school districts, where these decisions can be made concerning the students in that district.

CommentID: 29853