Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a bill Friday requiring that each local school district adopt a policy to notify parents when sexually explicit subjects or content is used in the classroom, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant authored the bill, which requires the state’s Department of Education to develop policies that ensure parents are notified when their children are taught sexually explicit material. Local school boards are required to adopt the policy by Jan. 1, 2023, at the latest, according to the bill.
The bill notably allows parents to “review instructional materials that includes sexually explicit content” and provide “non-explicit instructional material” as an alternative for their child if they feel inclined. Provisions of the bill are only applicable to in-classroom material and cannot be used “for the censoring of books in public elementary and secondary schools.”
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who campaigned against Youngkin, vetoed a similar bill under his administration, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The bill was signed amid a bill signing blitz on April 8, according to a press release from Youngkin’s office.
Youngkin signed a separate education-related bill on Friday as well. The bill expands the Advanced Studies Diploma program option for high school students and aims to increase the “transparency and honesty” of performance measures for students.
The second education-related bill insists that public schools focus on “grade-level proficiency” in “reading and mathematics.” Parents in Virginia complained, in the lead up to Youngkin’s election victory, that a focus on critical race theory-inspired teachings or social justice teachings took away from essential subjects like reading and math.
“Both [bills] deliver on my Day One promises to give parents a greater say in their children’s education,” Youngkin said.
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