Governor Youngkin’s Policy 5055 Invites Major Changes to LCPS

The Loudoun County Public School Board has drafted Policy 5055 Parental Notice of Sexually Explicit Content, a bill signed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in April of 2022. The policy will enforce schools to “identify all instructional materials with sexually explicit content, ensure parental notification of any instructional materials with sexually explicit content, and ensure alternative instructional materials.” 

Policy 5055 is expected to go into effect in January, as Youngkin signed a bill earlier this year stating that all Virginia school boards must comply with the new state guidelines. The policy will impact teaching materials in all classes, but especially English and history curricula. Some targeted books include The Kite Runner, The Odyssey, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Youngkin has emphasized parental involvement in school curriculum from the start of his campaign tweeting: “To parents, I say: we respect you. And we will continue to work to empower you in the education and well-being of your children,” shortly after his election in November.

“While parents should be allowed to know what content is being taught to their children, I do not believe it is okay for them to pick and choose what is taught. The cherry-picking, regarding this legislation and others, lead to the polarization we see in our country today,” says Senior Celia Hart. 

“This legislation limits a student’s chance to not only learn about the history of our world and its sins, but also their chance to ask questions in a safe space,” Hart continues. 

The Outlander spoke to another Woodgrove Senior, Averie Gannon, who expressed concern over the far reaching proposed policies, and its ultimate reflection on education. “I feel parents should have involvement in their children’s education, but not to this degree.” When asked about some prominent books targeted by these new guidelines, like Toni Morrison’s Beloved  and Homer’s The Odyssey, Gannon pushes back against the state’s suggestion that the books “glorify sexual acts.” Gannon insists they are “not the main lessons and themes of these classic literatures.”

On Tuesday, November 29th, the Loudoun County School Board convened to vote on how to implement the new policies. In a 7-2 vote, the school board decided teachers must inform parents at least 30 days in advance of any sexually explicit material in the classroom and mandates the school provide alternative materials if a parent chooses to opt out their child. The Outlander attempted to reach the Loudoun County School Board prior to this vote, but had not heard back as of November 30th.