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  9:07 pm
Commenter: Star Kiesau

I VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE the Amendment--Leave to the LOCALS

I vehemently OPPOSE this amendment! First of all, the word “sensitive,” is purposely vague and subjective. LOCAL school boards should have policies in place to deal with parent notification, opt-out, and alternative assignments. If local boards don’t have this in place, they are the ones who should take care of business.

 As a resident of Stafford County, I have been blessed to have my daughter graduate from Mountain View High School with her IB diploma in 2011. My son is a sophomore at the same school. He also attended elementary and middle school in the county. I have ALWAYS received a handbook outlining all district policies the first day of school along with various syllabi for all the subjects. I actually read these materials. If I have questions about material with which I am unfamiliar, I send an email or ask the teacher in person. That is my job as a parent. Maybe I could do my job better and look it up online myself instead of asking the teacher. The point is all the information is there on day one. If I were worried about a course, I am sure the staff at any school would help me find the answers to my questions. I even get movie notifications at the beginning of the year. Most information about any district, school, or individual teacher’s policies can be found online 24/7.  I parent my children and keep up with what is going on in each of their lives.

I parent and have tried to raise my children faithfully according to our religious beliefs. I want my children to learn and learn about people from other cultures. Life is not easy, and my children certainly know this. I would much rather my children be knowledgeable and able to think for themselves and articulate what is wrong about genocide, poverty, inappropriate sex (I know what that means in my house and that is my business; I don’t know what it means in your house) and domestic problems rather than hiding from those subjects. If one parent in a class objects to a book ( or an article, or a current event), I do NOT think it is fair that it should have an impact on my child’s education because it will. That book will eventually get relegated to a high shelf in the back of the book room because no one will want to risk being labeled …I guess a pornographer according to some of the previous posts. That is not fair to my kid! Some parent has decided to be the thought police and thinks my child is incapable of reading a book and gaining some insight because said parent only read the naughty words or naughty bits from a context-free list that was notification or from some website that only addresses the naughty parts instead of the work as a whole. I hope I have prepared my children for life and independent thought. I hope they know the difference between how-to-live your life books and the how-NOT-to guides!

Yes, I am a teacher. I am a professional. I have been teaching students English and other ELA subjects for twenty years now. Reading some of the previous posts is disheartening. Do people really think we set out to destroy minds and lead students on a path to destruction? Do people really think we are in a profession with such low pay and such abuse on a daily basis because we relish the thought of corrupting youth? This is madness and I think it is why so many educators have posted. This is about our life’s work. The absurdity is I believe that parents are informed. They are informed about most every bit of their child’s life. I have parents who are excited to see what their children are reading. If a parent requests it, and I have a spare copy, I have let parents borrow a book so they could read it along with their child. I think most of the curriculum I teach would be out the door if I get rid of everything that could be deemed “sensitive.”  Goodbye, Shakespeare. We don’t need treason, murder, war, and an assassination in my classroom. Goodbye, Elie Weisel. The Holocaust cannot be discussed. Genocide, hunger, starvation, faith, humanity, family relationships, community—those topics are too big. Goodbye, Harper Lee. Racism, abuse, rape, historical context, a deceased parent—sorry, can’t read it. I apparently don’t have the skills to teach the Standards of Learning or to be professional enough to know my audience or how to prepare them to read, analyze texts, or think for themselves.


 Have my children found issues in books that upset them or make them angry? Yes! We have had discussions that I think have made them grow in their faith. If I have done my job, my personal children are not going to be indoctrinated with something by studying a piece of literature.Also, I acknowledge that if a student is enrolled in IB or AP courses, you can expect the  works should be college level. That would also be reflected on the maturity level of the student if the expectation is to receive college credit!

Please defeat, strike down, reject this amendment. Don't go another step towards appeasing one to the detriment of the whole.

CommentID: 30862