Read at Substack
Virginia has joined a growing number of states that are considering legislation to limit book bans and curriculum restrictions in schools. Senate Bill 235, introduced by Senator Ghazala Hashmi of Chesterfield, aims to prevent the removal of books and materials from schools, while still allowing parental notifications and the option to review the material. The bill is a response to a 2022 bill signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin that has led to an increase in challenges and removals of books, particularly those related to LGBTQ+ topics.
"I feared the direction we were going in... that is the direction of book bans and censorship. We had superintendents who actually began to remove books from school libraries," Hashmi said on the Senate floor last week.
The proposed changes to the bill clarify that school boards cannot censor or remove materials from schools, but do not eliminate parental notifications or the opportunity for parents to review materials. The aim is to provide consistency across districts and prevent arbitrary removal of books and resources. The bill is similar to legislation passed in California in late 2021, and reflects a broader national debate on the rights of parents, students, and educators in shaping school curriculum.
C. Each school board shall adopt policies that are consistent with but may be more comprehensive than the model policies developed by the Department pursuant to subsection B. However, nothing in this section, any model policy or amendments thereto adopted by the Department pursuant to subsection B, or any policy or amendments thereto adopted by a school board pursuant to this subsection shall be construed to permit the censoring