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Should Parents Be Able to Block Sexually Explicit Material in the Classroom?

Virginia Department of Education

Members of the Virginia School Board are considering a new proposal that would allow parents and guardians to prevent children from being exposed to sexually explicit material.

Earlier this year, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have allowed parents to block their children from reading books that contain sexually explicit material.

Like, for example, Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved,” which prompted the legislation in the first place. Republicans in the General Assembly wanted the bill, but the Democratic governor did not.

Now the Virginia Board of Education is considering a similar effort. Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington suspects the regulation may have a similar fate.

“If the legislature and the governor can’t reach a consensus, I’m not sure that the school board is the best place to go for a statewide decision in the controversial area like this.”

Read more: Virginia Could Warn Parents About Sexually Explicit Books

Frank Shafroth at George Mason University says members of the state Board of Education need to consider the consequences of moving forward with a regulation the governor has already vetoed.

“I think there’s a recognition that things are a little bit tight with the Virginia budget right now, so my guess is that the last thing most school boards would want to do is to get on the wrong side of the governor.”

The Board of Education is expected to vote on whether to move forward with the regulation at its meeting next month.