Virginia Beach School Board Chair Carolyn Rye is directing staff to remove Gender Queer: a Memoir from school libraries, following the recommendation of a work group.
“I think the removal of this book is a win for parents and students,” Board Member Victoria Manning told The Virginia Star.
Wednesday was a good day for Governor Glenn Youngkin, who received two major education policy wins from the Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate, which passed Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) bill requiring parental notification of sexually explicit instructional material in public school classes. Senators Lynwood Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) and Montgomery “Monty” Mason (D-Williamsburg) voted with all the Republicans to pass the bill 20 to 18.
Dunnavant said, “Senate Bill 656 is a bill that we discussed and passed out of this body before that seeks to inform parents when controversial, sexually explicit material is being discussed in the classroom. It has nothing to do with libraries. It has an enactment clause that specifically protects books and ensures that it does not censor books.”
Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is set to be one of the most important legislators in the 2022 General Assembly session. The Virginia Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans, meaning that with just one Democratic senator swinging on a vote, Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, a Republican, will cast a tie-breaking vote. Morrissey is a pro-life Democrat, and although he may be a standard Democrat on many issues, he occasionally finds common ground with Republicans.
“I don’t believe that being pro-life is something that is just in the orbit of Republicans,” Morrissey told The Virginia Star. “And let’s be clear: I’m not being disrespectful towards those that are pro-choice. It is my choice to be pro-life. It’s how I feel, and I’ve never wavered from that since the moment I came into the General Assembly.”
Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning has challenged four books in the district’s libraries over sexually explicit content.
“I’ve been accused of wanting to ban books, burn books, etc.,” she told The Virginia Star in an email. “However, I am NOT asking for a ban on these books. I’m simply asking for sexually explicit and pornographic materials to not be made available to minors through our schools. If adults want to purchase these books or borrow them from the library then that is their business and their right. At the very least, parents should be made aware in advance of sexually explicit material and be required to OPT-IN for their children to be able to be provided these materials.”