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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12/20/13  3:11 pm
Commenter: Alan Seibert, Salem City Schools

Please Reject: 1) Please Support Local School Board Authority; and 2) Use Clear Language in Regs


This proposal is redundant and intrusive.  Most (if not all) school divisions have procedures and policies in place for persons who may take issue with instructional materials.  This is, has been, and should remain a matter for local school boards as they are comprised of people who have first hand knowledge of their communities and the children and families they serve.


Individuals who may disagree and desire to appeal a decision of their local school board may do so in court and/or by seeking to inform the subsequent appointment/election of School Board members in their locality.  Dissatisfaction with a local process does not justify the over-regulation and bureaucratic micro-management of all school divisions in the Commonwealth.


This proposal is vague and unenforceable.  What may or may not constitute "sensitive" materials is vague and subjective to the point of being unenforceable because there is no way to anticipate what each of the millions of parents in Virginia's schools may consider "sensitive" because some people are far more "sensitive" than others.  If, however, the State Board is convinced that there needs to be a process regarding objectionable materials over and above what local boards already have in place, then clear and enforceable language needs to be used.  Examples provided to the BOE during public comment in recent months could more appropriately be described as, "deviantly sexually explicit," which would be a bit easier for school teachers and leaders to interpret and anticipate than merely what could be considered, "sensitive."


Thank you for this opportunity to offer comment.


H. Alan Seibert

CommentID: 29757