Agencies | Governor
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 Ends 1/15/2014
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1/14/14  9:25 am
Commenter: Joanne Wiggins

Impossible to comply with as written (yes, I'm a teacher)

The problem with the proposed regs isn't that they require teachers to notify parents about sensitive material.  The problem is with the regs as worded

The problem is that they require teachers to notify parents AT THE BEGINNING of the school year about "ANY sensitive material" (emphasis mine) "that MAY be included" (emphasis mine) in "the course, the textbook, or any supplemental instructional materials." That is, anything at all that might possibly come up for the entire rest of the year. In other words, teachers are thereby forbidden for the rest of the year from ever making any changes to their lesson plans or materials--not even changing their minds about a worksheet--on the off chance that it might contain something "sensitive." No one could possibly comply with this. As any classroom teacher can tell you, plans change--and they should, if you are doing your job--moment to moment and day to day, in response to the learning that is going on.  

The other problem, of course, is the phrase "any sensitive" material. Some people think Harry Potter promotes Satanism, just to point out one example of an actual parent complaint (not in Virginia, fortunately). The wording of the reg requires teachers to imagine any and all situations under which not just reasonable people might be concerned, but unreasonable people as well, under any and all possible circumstances, and provide advance notification on the off chance that one of those unreasonable people might someday make a complaint. Again, impossible to comply with.

Why bother to put in place something that teachers flat out can't do?

"including a notice to parents about any sensitive or sexually explicit materials that may be included in the course, the textbook, or any supplemental instructional materials" 
CommentID: 30376