Public Comments for: HB1009 - Sexually explicit content; DOE shall develop model policies, parental notification.
Last Name: Babb Locality: Spotsylvania

There most definitely needs to be standards for age-appropriate literature in all schools. Also, if it passed/passes, thanks for allowing parent choice (opt-in) and transparency pertaining to family life instruction. If we as Virginians don't do something about this, we will end up with school divisions having Hustler and Playboy, etc. in their rotations. My vote is for common decency, transparency and yes, parent choice as to what our children are exposed to in school instruction. Without this, there could be a mass exodus of students to home-school cooperatives, and yes, the funds for education should follow the child. Definitely.

Last Name: LMiller Locality: Fairfax County

I am for HB1007/HB1126 because it is a needed step to help break poverty cycles caused by destructive behavior choices, which is unfortunately so heavily suggested in a lot of today's "education" and normalized by media echo chambers, social media trolls, rent-a-townhall mobs, and faux "community represented" committees. I am also for Parents Right to the education and well-being for their children. In America, kids belong to parents, not the government, and the government is run by we the people, nor vice versa. Our county government leaders, teachers unions, pharmaceuticals industry, and abortion industry and their activists in the schools and libraries are as guilty now as the Tobacco Industry was for causing devastation to many kids and adults for their self-centered profits and agendas. The Tobacco Industry was Guilty in getting many kids and adults sick and devastated because of smoking addictions.  Everyone knows that the Tobacco Industry increased the demand for smoking by using constant imagery of smoking cigarettes and cigars, creating a world image that everyone does it, adding addiction to it, and suppressing the knowledge that it leads to cancer and heart failure, among other diseases.  It took a reversal of the methods--getting the image of doing it out of pictures and movies and teaching what smoking does to the body--to significantly reduce the bad behavior choice. It is a known fact that marketing through repetition, especially when echoed in the entertaining and "newspaper" world, is a psychological form of influence and acceptance--a way to normalize behaviors, it is behavioral change manipulation. Now substitute cigarettes with sexually explicit materials and substitute the Tobacco with the new gravy train sex industry groups of abortion, pharmaceutical, government-dependence, and enemies.  Now you see what's really going on, and shame on the evil profiteers of destroyed lives.  Vultures -- all of them.  Health and economic statistics clearly show that temporary"benefits" of teenage sexual.activity, premarital sexual.activity, extra-marital sexual activity, or improper sexual activity lead to abortions, diseases, infertility, preterm births, depression, insecurity, single family homes, impoverishment cycles, broken families, unsatisfied married life, broken dreams, increased drug use and crime, and premature death. Social-economic and health statistics cleanly show that to significantly break economic poverty cycles and to significantly improve health statistics, financial status, dream achievements, and longevity, one must follow behavioral choices of the two parent married home and to save sexually activity until then and within that.  Therefore, to best help accomplish such successful behavioral choices stop aiming at kids lessons and easy access to imagery of sexually explicit and disease-ridden behaviors and normalizing it in fake echo chambers of acceptance. And to counter those that defend Compressive Sex Education, which teaches EVERYTHING under the sun, as the best method, who with a sane mind would teach 1000 ways with 1000 images to smoke if you don't want them to smoke, or 1000 ways with a 1000 images to use drugs, or drink alcohol, shoot a gun or eat delicious candy if you really don't want them too?  Therefore, you don't teach 1000 ways with 1000 images of what sex activity exists, healthy or not, outside of marriage, and especially before legal ages. This is grooming.

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Marsh Organization: None Locality: Locust Grove

I believe children should not be judged by age groups, each is a unique individual. Therefore, the parents are the ones who know their children best. Certainly not a teacher that may see a group of 25+ a day for 5 day a week for8 months. I feel, that sexual information should be handled by the parents.

Last Name: Rev. Earp Locality: Rockingham

I'm concerned that a bill allowing the censorship of "explicit materials" will quickly be misappropriated to censor sex education and other important learning. This kind of censorship is unnecessary.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am a public school teacher in Fairfax County and I urge you to vote no on HB 1009. The definition of "sexually explicit" is vague and could be used to restrict students' access to content with LGBTQIA+ characters and themes. There are already procedures in place for notifying families and giving families options to opt out of health and Family Life Education lessons. This bill is too broad-reaching and has too much potential to be misused. Please vote no.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Loudoun

I am very uncomfortable with other people deciding on what is sexually explicit for my own children. I would rather have them experience and learn from a book than perhaps try things on their own. I worry that some parents and school board members may feel that books featuring LBGTQ characters are "too sexual"; for example Drama by Reina Telegemeier is frequently challenged and releveled due to a kiss between two boys, yet another graphic novel Big Nate has a kiss between a similarly age boy and girl without any comment. Students have a range of sexual experiences by high school especially, sometimes without choice. Books could allow them the opportunity to see their feelings validated and reflected. Books may help those students' mental health. By requiring removal or automatic exceptions, these bills (1007/1009) discount the professionalism of the teachers and librarians who select the texts. Students may feel challenged by the texts, they may experience something different from their own experiences, they may learn about themselves - and that's okay, especially for our high school students who are becoming adults in their senior year and earlier.

Last Name: Brown Locality: Ruthville

I oppose banning any books. Parents should have the right to say what their kids can read, but they should not take away my child's choice to read said book. All books have value. I taught in the public school system for 10 years and I have worked in the public library. Please stop banning books. A child who can not talk to someone maybe able to find themselves in a book.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

Both the Virginia Education Association and I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, OPPOSE HB 1009. As written, the bill is too vague. The bill states that the board will define what is meant by "sexually explicit content." This definition needs to be included in the bill before the bill is approved.

Last Name: Vecere Locality: Roanoke

I oppose HB 1009. I understand the need for parents to oversee what their children read, even if it overrides what is in the school curriculum. However, this bill gives too much general power to parents to determine what they think is best for everyone's children, not just their own. This bill puts already-beleaguered teachers in an impossible position and is an affront to intellectual freedom.

Last Name: Ensign Locality: Arlington

I am father of three graduates of Virginia public universities who were students in Virginia public grade schools, middle schools, and high schools. At no point in their educations did I feel poorly informed about curriculum nor feel that additional labeling of their textbooks, library books, or other school materials was in any way needed to support my role in their educations. The move to label certain books and materials as sexually explicit is unnecessary legislative over reach done in a context of highly partisan politicization of public education. Such labeling opens the path to suppressing unpopular ideas or simply ideas that challenge readers to think for themselves. As the American Library Association's Freedom to Read statement puts it, "Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference." I am also a Presbyterian pastor who has served Norther Virginia congregations for almost 20 years. I believe, as the gospel of John says, that the truth shall set us free. But we'll only know the truth if we encounter it, free from labels that are intended to scare us away from it. Trust parents to parent. Trust teachers to teach. Trust librarians to curate collections.

Last Name: Davis-Rizzuto Organization: N/A Locality: Reston

Greetings, I am the parent of a self-identified LGBTQ student in the Fairfax County School system. When I head about book that reflect LGBT student experiences I was extraordinarily disheartened. As an LGBTQ student with very few "out" school leaders it is exceedingly important that my kid see herself reflected in literature, as I did as a kid. Certainly, when I was a kid we had all sorts of books that talked about sexuality ranging from Judy Blume to "Go Ask Alice" which was a book about a girl who runs away from home, does drugs and gets into a lot of dangerous relationships. We needed these books to answer our questions, as cautionary tales, to understand what came next etc. We didn't use them as guidebooks on how to do drugs and engage in risky sexual behavior but used them to explore and understand ourselves better. Frankly, teens are engaged in sexual behavior and literature mirrors real life experience. What's to gain from pulling books from the library? Who wins? Kids who don't have parents to rely on need peers who understand and need literature to reflect their personal experiences- all of it, not just the pretty PG parts. Don't ban books. It's un-American and frankly, goes against everything school libraries should stand for: openness, honesty and a love of literature of all types. Thank you

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

I SUPPORT HB 1328. I OPPOSE HB 344, 787, and 1009.

Last Name: Feightner Locality: Alexandria

It is ridiculous to think that students who are upset about anything that’s taught in the classroom won’t go home and tell their parents it is not necessary to pass a law to demand this. This is about banning. I do not support this law

Last Name: Feightner Organization: Queer kids of VA Locality: Alexandria

I am writing in opposition to HB 1009. I understand the impulse to allow parents to control what their children read, and I wish I could share your optimism that parents' hearts will always be in the right place. But it is naive to think that they always will be. I grew up queer in Virginia. I was not out to my parents. I'm lucky that my parents were open-minded, and probably would not have restricted my reading. But books from the VA library system were where I found the information I needed to understand myself and my feelings. Books were where I found a community, before I ever met any other queer people. Many of the books that have and will be flagged as "sexually explicit" are being flagged solely because they're about LGBTQ issues. Parents may mean well, but it is naive to think that they will always act in the best interests of their children. Some parents will block their queer children from accessing the vital info they need to survive their confusing adolescent years, either because they are unaware of their child's queer identity, or out of ignorance, or out of outright bigotry. This bill hurts queer kids. Whether you all like or not, we're here, we're queer, we're Virginians, and these are *our* libraries and schools too.

Last Name: Kidd Locality: Richmond

I respectfully oppose this bill. It is unnecessary to create a state law for this purpose as decisions regarding content should be made at the individual, school, and local levels. This is tantamount to censorship. Who decides what is sexually explicit? What may be to one person isn't to another. Should a student or parent object to the material then allow them to work with the teacher to come to an alternate arrangement. That is typically what already occurs. There is no need to create a law that wouldn't allow for any nuance or difference of opinion. Parents should have a say in their children's education, but that does not mean that one parent's objections should allow them to decide for all parents. Once again, I believe this is an unnecessary law and is a form of censorship.

Last Name: Hepner Locality: Shenandoah County

Delegates, I appreciate the genuine concern of those of you wanting to keep Virginia's children safe. I appreciate the genuine concern of parents across the Commonwealth who want to take an active role in monitoring the content their children have access to. I am not sure how this bill accomplishes either of these goals. Teachers already devote so much time and energy to parental engagement. As a parent of children in a Virginia public school I can assure you that there is no end to the communication from my children's teachers. On any given day I can easily find out what materials my boys will be learning. Furthermore, parents already have the option to opt their child out of certain lessons or request alternate materials. What I do think this bill will result in is teachers facing punitive action should they inadvertently fail to disclose any form of romance or typical human interaction that a parent later finds objectionable. Is hand holding sexually explicit? What about a protagonist with same-sex parents? Please think about the example of tv shows and movies. I can use the same rating guide as my neighbor next door and yet, we may each come to a different conclusion about whether the media is appropriate for our children. No one can guess what I deem appropriate, I need to do the research myself and not rely upon someone else to do the work for me. Let parents choose what is best, yes, but we do not need this legislation. Do more to encourage parents to communicate with their child's school.

Last Name: Finn Locality: Stafford

As a Librarian I completely disagree with censoring material in any library. Our job is to provide material of all genres, subjects, cultures, religion, etc. Information is the most important tool we have to educating society and the government making the decision on what people can read is not the responsibility of our government and limits our freedoms.

Last Name: Hommer Locality: Fairfax

Comments Document

The U.S. federal government and every state has strict laws against obscenity and child pornography. The intent of these federal laws, state laws, and Supreme Court case law is to protect children from inappropriate content. In Roth v. U.S. (1957) the legislature does not need to show actual harm to ban materials in order to protect “the social interest in order and morality.” The distribution of R-rated books is inconsistent with directives of law. The Supreme Court has stated there is a “duty to inculcate community values in school.” And “[t]he importance of public schools in the preparation of individuals for participation as citizens, and in the preservation of the values on which our society rests, long has been recognized by our decisions.” The Code of Virginia emphasizes moral and character education. There are numerous studies that illustrate that explicit materials psychologically negatively affect teenagers. R-Rated materials betray the stated goals of teachers to their students: to enhance the holistic intellectual being, to shape the moral character and ethical value systems, and to have the objective of student mental health well-being. Studies that illustrate we have a vulnerable teen population. Video games, audio recordings, and movies have ratings. Fairfax County Public Schools requires permission to watch R-rated movies. It is outrageous that we have adults wanting pornographic materials. This is not book banning. There is porn in our schools and it needs to come out.

Last Name: Dyer Locality: Norfolk

I oppose this bill. If parents do not want their child “exposed” to literature they deem unacceptable , they already have options to prevent that. They should not, however, be given the power to prevent others access to it. The government should not be involved in the business of legislating/enforcing book bans based upon the opinions of a vocal minority. Intellectual freedom is a right and it’s pursuit is something that everyone should be able to determine for themselves.

Last Name: Bilby Locality: Suffolk

The first principle of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement is that “It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.” This is a concept going back long before its 1953 adoption—it’s part of the founding principles of the US--the freedom to read is essential to our democracy. Even in a school library, there are and must be a wide variety of materials available. This is important for critical thinking. Age appropriate? Yes, but what is appropriate for the student population, whose members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, family structures, and belief systems, should be decerned by professional librarians. Then parents, working with teachers and librarians, can decide what is right for their own individual child. As a law, this can create a chilling effect for educators who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone. When I was in high school three decades ago, the book “Catcher in the Rye” was assigned for an English class. It’s a classic. And frequently challenged. This time by a parent and her minister. Not content with her own child reading an alternative, the parent didn’t want it taught to any student. It was not banned, but it was dropped from the lesson. The chilling effect meant that the young and engaging teacher left the system the next year and high school students were “protected” from lessons that included allegedly dangerous books—no teacher wanted to endure the publicity of fighting the good fight after that. Every book isn’t for every child, even if age appropriate. But professional librarians are there to help students chose well and work through understanding literature that may either reflect their own world and dealing with reality or serve as a window into new worlds, new ideas, and foster empathetic understanding.

Last Name: Vaughan Locality: Harrisonburg

I am writing in opposition to HB 1009. As a mother of a middle schooler and high schooler, I find it abhorrent that the state thinks it is a better judge of what my children should be reading than their teachers and I am. Questions about what should be read in schools is best left up to parents, students, and teachers. Legislating this at the state level is a disturbing overreach of authority. In addition, I have seen from the many challenges to books across this commonwealth that the titles that are under review are written by and about LGBTQ+ people and people of color. This is a thinly-veiled attempt to control what white children read, so that they are not exposed to the beautiful variety of literature, and to suppress diverse voices among our students by suppressing the authors who show them what is possible.

Last Name: Henry Locality: Frederick

I am strongly opposed to HB1009 for a multitude of reasons: Labeling books is a form of censorship and an infringement on the freedom of speech. Teaching materials and books used should be decisions made by the individual school systems and teachers. Our teachers are already heavily burdened and this bill would add unneeded stress to our classroom professionals. The term "sexually explicit" is vague and narrow. Parents already may request alternate reading materials for their children if they feel an assigned book is not appropriate. This bill can also target books to which our young people in the LGBTQIA+ community can relate and thus be harmful.

Last Name: Elder Locality: Chesapeake

I am writing in opposition to HB 1009. As a believer in limited government, I believe that parents, students, and teachers can work together when disagreements arise to best choose what is appropriate for individual students. Using the legislative system bypasses local policies and initiatives and amounts to the state attempting to dictate for others, removing all “offensive materials” as defined by individual parents relying on the state. As a librarian, I have witnessed that book challenges and laws often target authors of color and representatives of other marginalized groups, and are stories including such characters. Six books on the American Library Association’s 2020 Top 10 Most Challenged list were written by authors of color. Increasingly, challenges target material dealing with racial inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues. These include the books referenced in regard to "sexually explicit" material. Finally, as a researcher, I know that bibliotherapy research has demonstrated that books often serve to identify harmful behavior that students might otherwise categorize as “normal.” Removing books deemed “sexually explicit” (such as The Color Purple) denies students an important opportunity to identify sexual assault. Through the bibliotherapy that exposure to these materials provides, students can be given language to address the criminal behaviors they’ve experienced that would otherwise remain hidden. Please consider those reasons, and oppose this bill. It will not help children, and it will likely harm them.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Fairfax

I oppose this bill because school policy like this is better set locally. If parents don’t like the assigned books, they can ask for substitutes but never should a group of parents or the state be able to decide for others who may want more freedom of choice for their children.

Last Name: Johnson Organization: Virginia Library Association Locality: Moneta

To whom it may concern: I am opposed to any bill that infringes on the freedom of speech and the freedom to read. Labeling of books and material (by policy or law) is a form of censorship, and places the weight of responsibility wrongly on teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. We do believe in parents’ rights to oversee what their children read; we don’t believe some parents should unilaterally decide for others. The bill can create a chilling effect for educators, who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone. Parents, students, and teachers can work together when disagreements arise to best choose what is appropriate for individual students. Using the legislative system bypasses local policies and initiatives and amounts to the state attempting to dictate for others, removing all “offensive materials” as defined by individual parents relying on the state. Parents only have the right to determine what their child should read, not what all children should read. Who determines what is sexually explicit? That definition is different from family to family. Every school board has the right to determine the policy for challenging a book, not the state. Do not go down the slippery slope of censorship.

Last Name: Varga Locality: Virginia Beach

In looking at the websites of many of the patrons of HB1009, I am struck by how many mention that issues are best decided at the local level. Yet this bill makes a statewide issue out of discussions that are had at the local level between educators and parents. Who makes the decision about what books should be labeled "sexually explicit?" Why would we label books, when labeling is censorship? This bill (and others like it) are an attempt to control information and experiences, and cause an unreasonable amount of extra work for educators. You have many bills you are considering during this legislative session. I ask you to think deeply about the long-term impact of this bill. Research what has happened to communities that have attempted to censor reading materials. Learn from the past. Understand that the reason bills like this have not passed before is that they are unsustainable, unfair and suppress a variety of voices. Recognize that you may not have all the information you need about intellectual freedom to make an informed decision on this bill, in the short time you have had access to it. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

Both I (a FCPS teacher) and the Virginia Education Association OPPOSE HB 1009 due to how the bill is currently written. This bill depends on how the board defines sexually explicit content, and since this definition is not included in the language of the bill, I think it is inappropriate to pass the bill as it.

Last Name: Jones Organization: Individual Locality: Roanoke

I oppose this bill as this is an issue that should be handled locally and not by the state. Labeling is the start of censorship and has no place in libraries, academic or public. If this bill is passed it would apply yet another pressure to teachers who already are dealing with issues way above the scope of teaching or kids.

Last Name: Henry Organization: Individual Locality: Fairfax

This bill is laden with problems. I think most people would agree that education policy should be set locally rather than be dictated by the state. Labeling is a gateway to out-and-out censorship, and stands in opposition to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Additionally, labeling pressures teachers to self-censor as they fear repercussions for choosing books that may be deemed appropriate by the vast majority of parents but by others thought to be "sexually explicit." Parents may already, at any time, ask for substitute material if they do not approve of that which is assigned, and never should any one parent or group of parents or the state be allowed to determine what is available to be read by others' children. Thinking otherwise denies the right of families to determine things for themselves, and ignores the diversity of students being taught in Virginia schools.

Last Name: Geraghty Organization: James L. Hamner Public Library Locality: Jetersville, VA

I am requesting that you vote no on this bill. Although the level of censorship seems innocuous and beneficial at first glance, the phrasing allows for the subjective interpretation of what is objectionable. We must discourage any opportunity for controlling so broadly the accessibility of literature. Let's continue to protect our rights as citizens to read, to think, and to speak our ideas. Thank you.

Last Name: Conaty Barbara Locality: City of Falls Church

I encourage the committee not to approve the bill HB1009 which bans sexually explicit language from instructional materials as a matter of statewide policy. While parents are the primary line of nurture for Virginia's children, there are many trained and concerned professionals that are part of the village that raises every child. Many parents sit on school boards of the state's districts and have direct responsibility to oversee the suitability of instructional materials used in that district's classrooms. Unlike measure guarding public health and safety, the selection of instructional materials should be left up to local schools and their libraries. as guided by local parents, teachers, librarians, and other informed participants in the selection decisions. Banning books has long been a disputatious concern for local leaders. Experience has shown again and again that on closer examination of the instructional materials being considered for prohibition, reviewers realize that material with sexually explicit language has socially redeeming value. Please do not approve this bill.

Last Name: Davidson Locality: Chesapeake

I am writing about HB1009. It is absolutely ludicrous to ban books. We, as a state, are better than this. I have been making it a point to read all proposed banned books. While I don’t think all belong in a classroom’s lending library, I think nobody should be banning books in school libraries. This is how Hitler came into power. Let’s not be like Nazi Germany!

Last Name: Roberts Locality: Farmville

As a professional Librarian in both a school and public setting, I feel the freedom of an individual to determine what they should read is of utmost importance. I am the parent of 2 children, one of whom is non-binary. They have found information and solace from books from the library to help them with who they feel they are. When students are unable to see themselves in the world, they do not feel that they have a place here. I respect a parents right to determine what is best for their own child but not for everyone else's and certainly not for my child. • The American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (originally written in 1953) provides some helpful starting points. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement • Labeling of books and material (by policy or law) is a form of censorship, and places the weight of responsibility wrongly on teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. We do believe in parents’ rights to oversee what their children read; we don’t believe some parents should unilaterally decide for others. The bill can create a chilling effect for educators, who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone. • Parents, students, and teachers can work together when disagreements arise to best choose what is appropriate for individual students. Using the legislative system bypasses local policies and initiatives and amounts to the state attempting to dictate for others, removing all “offensive materials” as defined by individual parents relying on the state. • Book challenges and laws often target authors of color and representatives of other marginalized groups, and are stories including such characters. Six books on the American Library Association’s 2020 Top 10 Most Challenged list were written by authors of color. Increasingly, challenges target material dealing with racial inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues. • Bibliotherapy research has shown that books often serve to identify harmful behavior that students might otherwise categorize as “normal.”. Removing books deemed “sexually explicit” (such as The Color Purple or Speak,) denies students an important opportunity to identify sexual assault. Through the Bibliotherapy that exposure to these materials provides, students are given language to address the criminal behaviors they’ve experienced that would otherwise remain hidden. Thank you.

Last Name: Breeden Locality: Prince William

Good day, We live in a country that prides itself on the concept of free speech. Most people forget that free speech exists only as long as said speech is not directly harmful to others - unfortunately, people on all sides of every spectrum imaginable are guilty of this oversight. Even when the best of intentions are being considered, personal views and beliefs oftentimes interfere with decisions and cause situations that could easily have been avoided. This bill is a shining example that mistake. The concept, in its most base form, is simple - some parents may not want their child to be aware of "sexually explicit" material. This likely stems from not only a feeling of protectiveness, but also an unconscious realization of just how much unfettered access to information has permeated our everyday life. But the bill puts too much power into too many hands; power that is not clearly defined in any scope or fashion. The main crux of the issue is this: there is no specific answer to the question "What is sexually explicit material?". Requiring a policy that centers around a question that could have a thousand different answers from a thousand different people is a terrible way to handle education. Furthermore, what happens when a parent decides that their definition of "sexually explicit" material clashes with a teacher's? As an example, consider a work of literature that remains one of the most widely-taught across the county: William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Several passages throughout the work have characters taunting Romeo with various body parts of his romantic interest at the time, and yet that pales in sight of the fact that the two title characters, both grown but far from adults, spend a night together in bed. Does this constitute "sexually explicit" material? Many libraries maintain a collection of periodicals for referential use, including copies of the magazine National Geographic. Some issues contain nude or near-nude humans, with various portions of their bodies exposed. I do not believe that anyone could reasonably argue that National Geographic portrays "sexually explicit" content, but what happens when a parent challenges that based on the images contained within? Even middle and high school Biology textbooks contain information that is designed to educate students, not only about their bodies (and the changes happening within them), but the very real social pressure and expectations that revolve around sexual activity. Would this information be labeled as "sexually explicit"? If so, would we then be creating a situation where teenagers and young adults are unprepared for life's circumstances, thereby endangering themselves and those around them? Any form of censorship of the written word, regardless of intentions, is not the way to properly educate anyone. Almost any material can be used for the purposes of education, even if said material is an example of how things should NOT be done. Restricting viewpoints to a single line eliminates critical thinking and will help create a society where adults cannot think for themselves, but instead follow the "popular" opinion so as to not stand out as being "different". We do not need sheep in the classrooms. We need smart, educated people who will grow to be our leaders. Do not pass this bill.

Last Name: Cannon Locality: Staunton

I strongly oppose this bill as an unnecessary layer of government interference, dressed up as protecting parental authority. Disagreement or even disgust isn't an excuse for censorship, even in the schools. I am more concerned about moral parameters being put in place by politicians and mob rule than I am about sex--in any form. There is only so much a human body can do but a governing body can wreak immeasurable havoc! Parents can't protect kids from learning and thank God for that. I'm a parent. There is only so much you can do to guide young people and leave the rest to their own decisions, prayer, and abiding faith that you've done the best you can. Control doesn't work.

Last Name: Chartier Locality: Portsmouth

Giving authority to the state as to what material students may access prohibits learning and critical thinking. Parents have the right to judge what material they wish to expose their child to but that does not give them the right to decide for others. Books that are regularly targeted for banning often are written by minorities and other disenfranchised demographics. Removing their voices removes diversity in education and reinforces the belief that these groups are "wrong" or "unacceptable." Removing representation for these groups has a large negative effect on students belonging to those demographics. Censorship is unacceptable and against the very core values of the United States. The diverse population of the country must not be silenced and censored by a very tiny vocal group of individuals with malicious agendas.

Last Name: Trovato Organization: Virginia Trovato Locality: Staunton

I do not support this bill. I believe this legislation as proposed places the weight of responsibility wrongly on teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. As a parent myself, I do believe in parents’ rights to oversee what their children read; however, I do not think it fair that some parents should unilaterally decide for others. The bill can create a chilling effect for educators, who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone. Unfortunately, we are seeing some groups target certain book and authors they deem controversial such as authors of color and representatives of other marginalized groups, and are stories including such characters. Six books on the American Library Association’s 2020 Top 10 Most Challenged list were written by authors of color. Increasingly, challenges target material dealing with racial inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues. I trust teachers to provide a caring and challenging environment to support all students. This bill will hinder them.

Last Name: Hames Locality: Farmville

HB 1009 addresses an important educational consideration. What reasonable person would want a child exposed to sexually explicit material? Also, parents should have a say in their children's educations. That said, I have concerns about HB 1009. When one group of people labels content in a context where others are subjected to the results of that labeling, then the opinions of the defining group are being enforced on people who hold other points of view. If the concern is that parents do not want their children exposed to certain topics, then there are ways besides a law that serve this purpose. HB 1009 would remove the choice of parents who do want their children educated in the vocabulary and contexts that would allow them to identify and report sexual abuse. It would remove the choice of parents who define "sexually explicit" differently from those who may label a book as such. One parent may want a book labeled and another may believe the book offers an essential part of education or not consider it sexual at all. No matter how thoroughly defined a term, the application is still a matter of judgement. When opinions on application vary, who is right? How do we know? Is a law the right way to answer these questions? In short, I see this bill as an attack on the rights of individuals to make choices for themselves and their families. HB 1009 is an attack on the values of individual choice and freedom from oppressive government. Protecting children is good. The methods in HB 1009 used by individuals may have benefit. The methods in HB 1009 used as law are not good.

Last Name: Parish Locality: Botetourt County

First and foremost my opposition is based on the bill calling for the Board of Education to define sexually explicit materials. For the Board or any state agency to do so is unwarranted censorship. What is or is not "acceptable" then comes at the whim of any current board membership or state administration. Secondly, my opposition is based on the bill calling for an undue burden to be placed on teachers who are already over-burdened. Should the bill be enacted, teachers would be required to provide alternative materials and activities if a student's parents object to "sexually explicit" material (as defined by the Board) that a teacher intends to use in a course. As such, a teacher might have to develop multiple alternatives for any set of such materials in a course. I have not yet heard of any example of materials being used in state schools that would meet a commonly accepted definition of "sexually explicit." Some examples have been cited in the press as objectionable according to some people. But from what I can discern, no examples have been cited for which examples of similar stories might not be found in a daily newspaper or on television news. Rather try to suppress legitimate educational materials, I suggest that our students will be better educated and equipped for life if their classes can use a wide range of materials for the students to think critically and to think beyond their own individual spheres.

Last Name: Smith Locality: York County

Between 25 and 30 years ago, a Stafford-based religious group puffed themselves up by accusing Disney of injecting pornographic material into their animated films. The minister performing the wedding in Little Mermaid getting an erection. Simba laying down in a dust cloud that spells S-E-X in The Lion King. Aladdin in that movie saying "Good teenagers take off your clothes." All of these required dedicated and repeated watching to find microseconds of offensive material that no one else can see, or would even look for. That's the kind of thing you get when you say people should look for pornographic material in their children's instructional materials. There are responsible and professional committees of people who search for the best in age-appropriate material to introduce students to new ideas and situations. Books build empathy, help young people articulate concepts they understand but don't have the words for, maybe even help them understand themselves, and certainly show them the great potentials of their native language. Allowing the loudest people to deny that enrichment is the first step to emotional illiteracy, and that's what this bill aims to do. Please oppose HB1009.

Last Name: Graziano Locality: Fredericksburg

I am writing to voice my strong opposition to Bill 1009 on sexually explicit instructional material. This authoritarian legislation robs each locality the opportunity to establish its own method for dealing with sensitive content that works best for their own students, teachers, and parents. Establishing a state-wide law for this will no doubt negatively impact books by marginalized authors and make it so students are confined to a greatly diminished perspective in their reading materials. Our world is filled with complexity. One way to deal with that complexity is by simply reading about the world around you so that one may better understand it. This legislation seems to believe that limiting viewpoints in literature due to their potential for profanity, uncomfortable themes, or so-called "sexually explicit" content will keep our students safe from ever having to deal with them. In fact, it inhibits the chance for the next generation to process and understand the following: -That gender identity operates on a spectrum and those who fall outside of the male/female binary or who do not identify with their birth-assigned gender deserve to see themselves represented and accepted just as much as anyone else does. -That it is beneficial for an individual to read a book with an opposing viewpoint, or to identify with a character who may have a different background or perspective from their own. -That those who may have been through a traumatic experience or have been a victim of abuse would undoubtedly benefit from reading about a character that has been through similar circumstances, allowing the reader to see themselves represented and in turn validating and legitimizing their own experience. I attended public school in Spotsylvania County for all of my lower education add I am incredibly concerned with the recent rhetoric used by Spotsylvania School Board members Rabih Abuismail and Kirk Twigg. These individuals both suggested that certain titles (which they did not read) in school libraries (not even part of any curriculum but simply there as a resource) should be burned. Simply put, these individuals do not have the best interest of their students or community in mind and should resign immediately. I can assure you that my public school experience was enlightened by the encouragement of teachers who understood their curriculum and identified texts that allowed me to develop a love of reading, critical thinking skills, and empathy. Some of those books could easily be flagged and due to the vague nature of this bill. It is my belief that the passage of this legislation from the state will result in the unnecessary removal of worthy materials due to its top-down "one size fits all" approach. Please do not go down the slippery slope of censorship. Leave it up to the individual school system to determine what works best for their students and their families.

Last Name: Archer Locality: Radford

Respectfully writing AGAINST this bill. As both a parent and as a professional librarian, I trust in my fellow librarians and teachers to provide a wide range of suitable content that will support both my child and others for their academic, social, and emotional growth. There are already processes and procedures in place should a parent have concerns with a specific book or other material. Do not place another layer of bureaucracy on this. This bill would have a chilling effect on teachers and librarians and a detrimental impact on our students and communities. "Labeling of books and material (by policy or law) is a form of censorship, and places the weight of responsibility wrongly on teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. We do believe in parents’ rights to oversee what their children read; we don’t believe some parents should unilaterally decide for others. The bill can create a chilling effect for educators, who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone." Many of the book challenges target marginalized voices - thus a student who is a racial minority may not easily find themselves represented in the literature. This is problematic for a lot of reasons. And I want my child, who is White, to be exposed to a wide range of voices and backgrounds, to build his empathy and understanding. Children need challenging books to be able to interact with difficult concepts in a safe space; "removing books deemed “sexually explicit” (such as The Color Purple or Speak,) denies students an important opportunity to identify sexual assault. Through the Bibliotherapy that exposure to these materials provides, students are given language to address the criminal behaviors they’ve experienced that would otherwise remain hidden." Please do not pass this bill. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Meldrum Locality: Williamsburg

As a parent of children in Virginia public schools and a children's librarian in a Virginia public library, I oppose HB 1009. If passed, this bill would create incentives for teachers to self-censor in their selection of materials for their classes rather than selecting the best books for their curricula. It would have a chilling effect on students' freedom to read. Some parents would gladly label as "sexually explicit" any book with LGBT+ characters. We've recently seen the critically acclaimed Maus, a fictionalized graphic memoir of the Holocaust written by a Holocaust survived, labeled "sexually explicit" on the thinnest of pretexts and banned in a Tennessee school district. No parent has the right to decide what other people's children should be allowed to read. The selection of books for classroom use should be left to education experts, not a vocal minority of parents or those who use "parents' rights" as cover for their desire to push marginalized voices out of classrooms and out of the public discourse. I urge Virginia's legislators to stand against the rising tide of censorship and the systematic exclusion of marginalized voices in this country.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Virginia Beach

I am writing in opposition for all three of these bills - HB1007, HB1009, HB1032. First, these bills are redundant and there is no need for all three of them. School public libraries should be staffed by licensed school librarians with advanced degrees in library science. They are trained to select materials that are age appropriate, and that address their specific school community. Every child has the right to choose from books that represent them as well as give them a perspective of other people's lives and worlds. My daughter, who graduated from Virginia Tech with honors in Engineering, never chose books with blond hair, blue-eyed girls like her. When she brought books home from the school library, it was my responsibility to read and discuss books with her. I believe that her early exposure to diverse books helped her become the successful, productive person she is. The other concern with these bills is that the term "sexually explicit" or "certain public school library materials" are both extremely vague. Who gets to decide what these terms mean in each school district? I believe that if these bills are passed, it is an overreach of the state government into school board business. These bills will also create the need for additional staffing to notify parents and to identify books which meet these vague terms or to censor them and remove them from the library. As we all know, schools are facing an unprecedented staffing shortage, and school staff, including librarians, are being asked to do a lot right now to cover these shortages. There is no extra time to undertake such an enormous task. Also, hiring new staff to review books, would put a financial strain on school districts. We know that no one likes unfunded mandates from the state. I know the focus in this administration is about parent choice in education. As a parent, I have the right to select my children’s exposure to books, movies, games, the internet. However, I do not have the right to do the same for other children. These bills essentially are giving a select group of parents’ choice, while ignoring other parents the right to choose what they think is best for their child and family. These bills are about censorship. Following Texas' book banning is not what Virginia wants or needs.

Last Name: Dillehay Organization: Mathews Memorial Library Locality: Mathews

The avenues of learning are numerous. Being adequately informed is an essential element of freedom. Libraries throughout history have served as a reservoir of means to meet these issues. Today's libraries are equal to the task; however, this status is delicate. In any threatened society throughout history, the first element of freedom to be challenged is access to information. Let this not happen in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2022.

Last Name: Wilson Locality: Richmond

I am writing in opposition to this bill. The term "sexually explicit" is too vague to be useful. I stand with the American Medical Association; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the American Public Health Association; the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine); the American School Health Association and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine in my support of comprehensive sex education. Research has found that comprehensive sexual education improves a myriad of outcomes and many studies have found that sex ed does not result in higher sexual risk-taking.

Last Name: Radomski Organization: Fairfax County Public Library Locality: Alexandria

Opposing the ban of any literature is crucial to the social-emotional development of children of all ages. Exposure to themes that can be difficult to swallow or that challenge morality must be explored in a safe space by children so that they can form a better understanding of these concepts and right and wrong. Understanding and identifying racism, sexism, sexual assault, and other tough topics forms a foundation of awareness that these issues exist in the real world and children will be confronted with them at some point. Banning literature that involves these topics would be an error because it shelters children and does not help them prepare to enter the real world outside of school. These books help prepare children in a safe way. The discussion of these books and tough topics helps children put a name to complicated issues and emotions that occur and allows children to discuss their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. As a survivor of sexual assault, I was only able to identify what happened to me because I had the awareness of such trauma, learned through reading literature and having discussions about it with my teachers and friends. School and libraries are safe spaces for children to explore all topics with trusted adults. We need to provide them with support so they can develop into fully functional adults. Please reconsider passing bill HB 1009. The positive development of our children depends on it.

Last Name: Mueller Locality: Chesterfield

This proposed bill, and bills like it, terrify me. As someone who works with children every day and who has nothing but their well being at heart, I cannot speak loudly enough about the harm that censoring learning causes. Parents need to learn how to trust that teacher's know what they are doing. The biggest with this bill is that parents can then dictate what THEY deem sexually explicit. So, if you have parent who is against the LGBTQA community, they can use this bill to demand that material not be taught. I'm sorry, but that is WRONG. We cannot allow our own political or religious views to color what our children learn.

Last Name: Fitzsimmons Locality: Richmond

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” - Benjamin Franklin These bills are vague, unnecessary, and potentially massively harmful. Teachers have enough tightropes to walk on, and are underpaid and underappreciated to boot. They've stepped up massively during this pandemic, and this is what we think they need from their legislature? This censoring of freedom of spiritual and intellectual inquiry is harmful, and while potentially coming from a good place morally, is fundamentally wrong-headed. What happens when children grow up and are confronted with these or any other challenging concepts in the wild of their everyday lives? They'll be all the more blindsided by it, and will be more vulnerable to bad actors acting in bad faith. Not allowing exploration of these or any other concepts into the classroom, where a healthy discussion can occur guided by capable professionals, will hamper the development of young minds. Young minds can gain wisdom by discussing these concepts in a safe setting, and can prepare them to decide for themselves how they'd like to live. These bills, in their current iterations, would do children harm in their efforts to protect them. The first amendment is fundamental to American political and intellectual life. Bills that seek to limit it do not belong in our laws. "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion." - Thomas Jefferson

Last Name: Flake Locality: Suffolk

A huge part of protecting children, is giving them the tools they need to be able to communicate sexual assault, sexual harassment, abuse, sexual identity, and to recognize when they are being preyed upon. Whether we like it, media is the way of the world and children are being influenced by it everyday. This influence includes the ability to see themselves within characters and stores. This bill sets a standard that I, as a librarian, believe is dangerous. It is sending the message to children that things that happen to them are explicit and sexual, and instead of being addressed, they should be suppressed. It is giving more power to abusers by suppressing the stories of survivors. It is sending the message that they are less than, especially when exploring something as complex as sexual identity. The rate of suicide in teens is already exponentially high, and it becomes even higher in LGBTQ+ youth. In a perfect world, all parents would be having these discussions with their children, but the fact of the matter is they are not. This fact is further proven by the support behind this bill. This bill represents a group of parents who would rather their child be abused and quiet than be able to recognize that abuse and speak out. How can we expect children to have the correct words to talk about their bodies when we don't allow them to read or learn about it? How can we expect children to report abuse when they don't know what abuse looks like? There is a reason why sexual abuse is less reported in schools, churches, and homes, because children are going to listen to authority figures. This is made worse when they have nothing to compare that abuse to. I am all for protecting children, but part of protecting them is giving them the tools to protect themselves when their parents are not around. It is unrealistic to believe that parents should have a had in every part of their child's life. Furthermore, slapping a label on a book and pulling it from a shelf is censorship, which goes against the foundation of our democracy. Children are citizens of this country, as are educators, and they have the right to learn and teach, which boundaries set upon them as strict as these. There are already rules in place to prevent age inappropriate books to get into the hands of elementary age students, based on stipulations placed on school libraries, they do not need more placed on them by the government. If we want to continue to be a free Commonwealth, we need to vote against this bill. Our democracy depends on it.

Last Name: Lighthart Locality: Virginia Beach

I am writing to express my concerns about some of the language and sentiments contained in HB1009. Requiring teachers to determine what every parent or child in their classes may deem "sexually explicit" seems to be overly burdensome and may cause them to shy away from content that could enrich their students' education and/or understanding of sensitive subjects such as sexual abuse, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. I am a parent of two school aged children and take the responsibility upon myself to engage with them and their teachers about the content they are taught in school. I am fine with allowing parents to request alternative materials, if they decide that they are uncomfortable with something that is being used by teachers. However, to require that teachers should preemptively warn parents about potentially "sexually explicit" content and then produce alternative materials in all such cases seems to be asking too much of already overburdened and underpaid educators. Such requirements, while often coming from a place of good intentions, can easily become a slippery slope that leads to the restriction of a wide range of language, subject matter, etc. that was not originally intended. Let teachers teach, let parents parent, and don't impose bills to tell either of them how to do it.

Last Name: Arnold Locality: Virginia Beach

This bill will amount to nothing more than overreaching censorship on the part of people with axes to grind and hatred for viewpoints with which they disagree. The phrase "sexually explicit" as used in this bill is so vague that anyone can object to just about anything they want, and that is very obviously driving this bill; the authors want anything remotely suggestive of anything beyond their strict and regressive values kept in the dark. Under this bill, so much is in danger. Virginia cannot let this bill pass. It will lead to misunderstanding, grief, fear, hatred, and a new generation of children growing up out of touch with their own bodies and identities. It is the most disgusting, hateful kind of bill out there because of what is at the core of it: mandated ignorance.

Last Name: Jacobs Locality: Norfolk

Putting the onus on teachers to predict what each individual parent could consider covered by such a subjective term as "sexual content" is unfair and disrespectful to the teachers and the schools who have the best interests of all students at their core. Materials selected to be used in schools have already been vetted and met schools' selection policies. Parents are welcome and invited to work with teachers individually to express concern about their individual child. They are not adversaries. This bill creates an adversarial set up, which is not helpful for parents OR teachers. Parents should talk to their own children and keep interest in what is happening with their particular child. Teachers teach.

Last Name: Hall Organization: Virginia Tech Locality: Blacksburg

The language in this bill is too vague to be useful and it also actually endangers children. Allowing local boards to define what is "sexually explicit" may seem useful in allowing autonomy to localities, but it invites all sorts of absurd interpretations. If any school board majority decides that "genitals" or any proper scientific terms for them are sexually explicit, then not only do students need permission to learn about human sexuality (a legitimate educational subject that with appropriate modification can be taught to a child of any age), but they would also need permission to learn about where common animals in farm and nature come from. Furthermore, children who do not learn appropriately about sexuality are more at risk of abuse because that is where concepts like "consent" and "bad touch" are often taught.

Last Name: Thayer Locality: Fairfax City

I am writing in opposition to this bill. Firstly, the definition of "sexually explicit" can vary widely depending on the opinions of the viewer. If some parents are allowed to set standards for what is sexually explicit, it will take away the rights of parents who disagree. If parents are concerned about what their child is reading, they can discuss the content with their student, read the book themselves, and discuss it with the teacher or other parents. There's no reason for the government to get involved in dictating what can and can't be taught, based on some vague and undefined morality. Don't legislate morality, do not pass this bill.

Last Name: Hulvey Locality: Palmyra

I strongly oppose HB 1009 because it will censor instructional materials. The phrase "sexually explicit" is intentionally vague and open to interpretation, which will lead to books and materials being banned in a moral panic. Parents have the right to manage their own children, but the censorship in this bill would lead to a small number of parents having the ability to remove materials they don't like and limit what other people's children have access to.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Albemarle

This bill will undercut the ability of teachers to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. There is no other reason required to oppose it. Children are exposed to sexually explicit content in all aspects of life. Banning it from schools lest a parent have a fainting fit will not somehow purify society. Solid, science-based instruction can provide a child with better tools to deal with the reality around them. Parents should be providing those tools, but as they won't or can't, that leaves the burden on teachers. So let them teach!

Last Name: Payne Locality: Staunton

Labeling of books and material (by policy or law) is a form of censorship, and places the weight of responsibility wrongly on teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. We do believe in parents’ rights to oversee what their children read; we don’t believe some parents should unilaterally decide for others. The bill can create a chilling effect for educators, who may avoid having students read challenging and important works because of a single passage or two that could be defined as “sexually explicit” by someone. Parents, students, and teachers can work together when disagreements arise to best choose what is appropriate for individual students. Using the legislative system bypasses local policies and initiatives and amounts to the state attempting to dictate for others, removing all “offensive materials” as defined by individual parents relying on the state. Book challenges and laws often target authors of color and representatives of other marginalized groups, and are stories including such characters. Six books on the American Library Association’s 2020 Top 10 Most Challenged list were written by authors of color. Increasingly, challenges target material dealing with racial inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues.

Last Name: Weimer Locality: Palmyra

Good afternoon. Thank you for allowing citizens the opportunity to comment. It is not necessary to create legislation requiring teachers to notify parents in advance of their intent to use a book with "sexually explicit material." Legal definitions of the term “sexually explicit” have been intended to prohibit criminal conduct, not reading. Parents already have the opportunity to request alternative reading assignments for their children. Such legislation can have a chilling effect on educators, and cause them not to assign difficult, but important reading material--wrongly requiring teachers to judge what different parents may deem “sexually explicit.” Increasingly, challenges target material dealing with racial inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been challenged in the past and has (rightly) not provoked calls for legislation because students are expected to understand that the often triggering use of "the n-word" in the book does not prevent it from being an important work of literature. Why should a book like Toni Morrison's "Beloved" suddenly require legislation for the entire state because one parent found some passages objectionable? Sincerely, Keith Weimer

Last Name: trivette Locality: QUINTON

Note: the last word "Censorship" was inadvertently omitted from my original post. The Commonwealth and local school districts SHOULD dictate guidelines regarding what materials are and are not appropriate for inclusion in public school curriculum and libraries. As parents, our primary charge, is to guide the proper and wholesome formation of our children's hearts and minds. Our children SHOULD be protected from harmful content in public schools. And parents Should be included in the selection, monitoring and oversight of such materials. Parents may choose to take their children to a public library, bookstore or amazon and provide any book/content the whish their children to read. With exceptions for the classics of literature which have stood the test of time and provide useful context for universal themes; material which is or contains (1) is sexually or morally indecent, obscene, or grossly offensive; or (2) may be reasonably interpreted to encourage or lead to an inappropriate relationship SHOULD NOT be available to public school students. "...it is not good for children to be constantly exposed to the sexual violence in our popular culture. Protecting children seems to me logically, legally, and rather easily differentiated from CENSORSHIP ." - Molly Ivins

Last Name: trivette Locality: QUINTON

The Commonwealth and local school districts SHOULD dictate guidelines regarding what materials are and are not appropriate for inclusion in public school curriculum and libraries. As parents, our primary charge, is to guide the proper and wholesome formation of our children's hearts and minds. Our children SHOULD be protected from harmful content in public schools. And parents Should be included in the selection, monitoring and oversight of such materials. Parents may choose to take their children to a public library, bookstore or amazon and provide any book/content the whish their children to read. With exceptions for the classics of literature which have stood the test of time and provide useful context for universal themes; material which is or contains (1) is sexually or morally indecent, obscene, or grossly offensive; or (2) may be reasonably interpreted to encourage or lead to an inappropriate relationship SHOULD NOT be available to public school students. "...it is not good for children to be constantly exposed to the sexual violence in our popular culture. Protecting children seems to me logically, legally, and rather easily differentiated from ." - Molly Ivins

Last Name: Osborn Locality: ALDIE

These latest bills introduced by LaRock, Freitas and Durant are ridiculous to the point of embarrassment and deserving of as little consideration as possible. To that end, I'll keep my comment intentionally brief. School systems can and should dictate student safety. School systems can and should control access to "Sexually explicit" reading material in schools. School systems can and should teach our children about things that are divisive, despite Dave LaRock's feigned fragility. Guns should, of course, not be anywhere in the vicinity of a school, a School Board meeting, a church, an airport, a restaurant, a shoe store, etc. What kind of absurdity is this bill?

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

These bills are OPPOSED by the Virginia Education Association and myself, a public school teacher in Fairfax County.

Last Name: Dotson Locality: Prince Edward

HB 1007 &HB1009.... It is time for the General Assembly to pass legislation that prevents Sexually explicit instructional material in our classroom; Board of Education to establish policy. Schools are failing our students. Some of this stuff is as bad as porn!!! We do not need this trash fed to our children.

Last Name: Hilton Locality: Williamsburg

I am fundamentally opposed to policing of literature and teaching materials - let the teachers teach. Education is not about making sure all are comfortable, but exposing students to ideas, concepts, and situations that may challenge their thinking. This is how they grow as individuals!

End of Comments