Virginia parents are still fuming about one candidate’s views on public education and who has the right to decide what students are taught. In a Virginia gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe defended his decision to veto a 2016 bill giving parents a warning about sexually explicit material, saying he doesn’t believe parents “should be telling schools” what to teach.
McAuliffe served as governor from 2014 to 2018 and is running for another term against Republican Glenn Youngkin. The current governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, is prohibited from running for another term under the state Constitution, which doesn’t allow governors to serve consecutive terms.
Youngkin referenced a recent controversy in Fairfax County over sexually explicit material in schools and noted that McAuliffe “vetoed the bill that would have informed parents” about such material.
“What we’ve seen over the course of the last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents,” Youngkin said before addressing McAuliffe. “You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
In 2016 McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required schools to notify parents if their child would be assigned a book with sexually explicit material. McAuliffe defended the action.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said Tuesday. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach kids.”
Youngkin criticized McAuliffe’s position.
“With regard to our kids in schools, we are called to love everyone — to love everyone,” Youngkin said before asserting that schools should “include concepts of safety and privacy and respect in the discussion, and we must demand that they include parents in this dialogue.”
The Virginia constitution and state laws, as do most states, says that school boards are accountable to the public for their decisions. Most school boards are elected.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice