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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12/17/13  12:46 pm
Commenter: Gurkamal Gill High school

defeat censorship

I ask that you consider your favorite books, poems, teachers.  How many of them were controversial? This amendment seems benign and reasonable to disclose such “subjects” to parents, but as we sit and think of all we assign in high school, I literally cannot find a piece that would not need to be reported. I would posit that all good literature, speech, and expository writing has an element of controversy.  I can understand a student’s/parent’s need or right to, in some situations, request an alternative reading assignment and this is certainly accomodated when needed.   This new amendment will undoubtedly encourage and most likely lead to systematic regulation of what we read in class, what we put in libraries, and what kids learn. As a parent and educator , this causes me great anxiety. 


I have always wanted my children to read, experience, and learn to empathize with others.  I want them to read age appropriate literature that teaches that bullying is wrong but so is turning a blind eye; that people are entitled to their own beliefs; that from terrible situations comes redemption, renewal, love; that thinking, writing, and speaking is powerful; that he is not alone in the world.  The list goes on and on.  These are the lessons that literature and other professional writings that are deemed “controversial” and/or “sexually explicit” teach.  I can tell you that teachers do not choose books for these qualities and never choose the more controversial readings without careful consideration of age appropriateness. 

Finelly I wanted my own children to be college ready and be able to deal with controversial material that they may be exposed to even if it is not something they like.   This level of censorship is not warranted.

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