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  1:50 pm
Commenter: Pete Mercier, High School

Opposition to this Ammendment

This proposal is logical in theory--allowing parents and students the opportunity to use alternative assignments and resources in place of those possibly deemed explicit, overly graphic, or otherwise offensive is a fair accommodation to be included in all schools' policies.  However, the board and legislative bodies fail to realize the potential pitfall of such an action--in order for schools, most of which are overburdened with data entry, recovery, analysis, and input, to ease the potential burden of such a policy, it is believed by many educators and administrative professionals that school districts will simply create "banned books lists" in order to avoid the logistical problems that may accompany such a policy.  Parents with the power to choose every piece of literature their child(ren) read(s) may become a thorn in the side of academic agendas, creating backlogs of paperwork for teachers and schools alike while making instruction all the more difficult for teachers.  Instead of teaching 140 students about one literary masterpiece, English teachers may have to teach 80 students about one work, 35 about another, and the final 35 of yet another work.  This is unfair to teachers who are already dealing the pressures of ensuring that students are ready for SOLs,  have met graduation requirements, and have learned how to read, write, and function as adults in the collegiate and professional world.  

I urge the Board and Legislature, in all of their good interest, to deny this proposal.  Please, teachers and those who work with students every day really do know what's best for students.  Parents and teachers working together for the betterment of our future is absolutely imperative for not only the success of our students, but for the success of our communities, state, and nation.  I applaud your efforts to ensure that schools and parents work together, but this mandate is as likely to bring about more problems than solutions.  I do believe that schools should work with students and parents--if parents believe that a curricular resource is offensive, they should have the right to request an alternative assignment for their child.  However, this idea should be placed back in the think tank for further review, evaluation, and restructuring.  

Thank you.

CommentID: 29657