According to the law signed by Youngkin in April, the model policies laid out "clear procedures" for public schools to identify materials that contain sexually explicit content and inform parents of the existence of such materials. It also permitted parents to review all instructional materials for sexual themes and mandated that alternative materials without any sexually explicit content be made available "in a non-punitive manner" to parents who request them.
Under the DOE policy, schools must post all "sexually-explicit" content, including all materials used for the lessons and curriculum, on the school's website. They must also alert parents of sexual content in learning materials at least 30 days before the lessons take place. "Local school boards should develop policies that provide parents the opportunity to change their decision by providing notice to the school," the policy also stated.
The DOE said the policy is designed to help parents make decisions for their children "in accordance with their customs, faith and values."
However, the policy did not sit well with the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The far-left group claimed that mandating transparency for the content of government-funded instruction would lead to what it called "classroom censorship."
"As drafted, the proposed model policies codify and force all Virginia school districts to adopt this anti-free speech practice and will only exacerbate an alarming trend toward classroom censorship, all while denying students the opportunity to be inspired by stories of people from all walks of life trying to live authentically in school curriculum," the ACLU said in an Aug. 2 letter to DOE Superintendent Jillian Balow.
The GOP governor rode a wave of discontent with leftist radicalism in public schools, which he subsequently leveraged against Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in November 2021. In contrast, McAuliffe sought to maintain the status quo in schools during his campaign, declaring that parents should not be telling schools what to teach students.
Writing for the Federalist, former Trump administration official Nick Bell pointed out that McAuliffe fully supports model policies "concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools."
The erstwhile deputy director at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the Trump-era U.S. Department of Education described these model policies – which include co-ed bathrooms for all, mandatory adoption of new names and pronouns for teachers and students and the participation of boys in girls' sporting events – as "frightening."
"Apparently, McAuliffe has no objection to schools giving teachers the green light to deceive parents about their children's adoption of a false identity," wrote Bell. "One hardly needs to be a Christian or a conservative to find the prospect horrifying."
As early as his first day in office, Youngkin issued a series of executive actions that pushed back against leftism in the Old Dominion's education system. These included a ban on the promotion of critical race theory in public schools and a request to investigate the Loudoun County School District for allegedly covering up student rapes. (Related: Parents outraged after Loudoun County school covers up girl's sexual assault in "gender neutral" bathroom.)
Visit EducationSystem.news for more information about sex education in American schools.
Watch the video below to know more about the dangers of failing to monitor children's classes for sexual content.
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