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  1:04 pm
Commenter: Michael Keller

Reject Amendments Regarding Use of Controversial or Sensitive Instructional Materials

I thank you for the opportunity to address and voice my concerns about the proposed amendment requiring teachers to advertise the "controversial or sensitive instructional materials."  They've all been stated in the massive outpouring of comments that precede this one.  In the interest of presenting something orginal, I think Ray Bradbury, who wrote a book about this very concern, said it best.  I'll let him take it from here.  The following excerpt may be found in  Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.  It's part of Captain Beatty's lesson to the reader about why the public stopped reading.  

     Mildred went out of the room and slammed the door. The parlour "aunts" began to laugh at the 
parlour "uncles.", 
     "Now let's take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more 
minorities. Don't step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, 
chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, 
Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this 
play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics 
anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All 
the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock 
up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the 
damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. 
But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the 
three-dimensional sex magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn't come from the 
Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! 
Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks 
to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old 
confessions, or trade journals." 
"Yes, but what about the firemen, then?" asked Montag. 
Taken out of context, this might be considered offensive.  But will I next be asked to burn books?  It feels this way.  Because if we ignore or are shielded from any book, what's the difference?  It's as good as burned already.
CommentID: 30714