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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1/7/14  4:43 pm
Commenter: Laura Cvitanovich

Reject this amendment

1. Parents and students already have the right to reject any literature assignment if they feel it is inappropriate. Teachers are required to provide an alternate text addressing the same skills/focus of study should the assigned text be deemed objectionable.

2. Who is going to determine what is objectionable? Nearly any text could be interpreted as objectionable or sensitive to someone; the list of classic literature that has been subjected to banning is longer than my arm.

3. How would the school district/teacher solicit approval and from whom? Do we put our book selections up for review in the summer and allow parents to chime in? Will a majority decide or does one negative vote elicit a banning? How about for students who transfer in midyear? Do their parents get the chance to weigh in?  Do books go under review each year, each semester, or as a parent happens to take a look at one? 

4. Are books banned across a school district, or the entire state? As a teacher, will I have to reproduce and provide copies of any possibly "objectionable" passages?

Not only are we sliding down the slippery slope of censorship and book banning, we are allowing the discontent of a minority of people to dictate what we read and teach. If a few parents feel that certain texts are inappropriate for their AP level students, then, by all means, have them read something else. However, the right of one person to be offended should not overreach the other student's right to access literature. 

And finally, have any of these parents taken a look at what their children are playing on video games, watching at the movies and accessing on their various electronic devices? 

This amendment is unfair, biased and untenable. Please reject it.

CommentID: 29888