RICHMOND (LifeSiteNews) – The Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would mandate parental notification for sexually explicit school content and allow parents to demand non-explicit material.
The majority-Democrat chamber approved the legislation, SB 656, in a 20-18 vote Wednesday. Two Democrats, Sens. Lynwood Lewis and Monty Mason, joined Republicans to pass the bill. Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain did not vote.
SB 656 requires public schools to notify parents of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content and allow parents to review it. The legislation also requires schools to provide alternative, non-explicit material to any student upon a parent’s request.
BREAKING: The Virginia Senate just voted 20-18 to pass a bill requiring parental notification if sexually explicit materials are used in class, along with a right of refusal.
Another W for Virginia’s families.
— American Principles 🇺🇸 (@approject) February 9, 2022
The bill tasks Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) with developing model policies on parental notification for school boards by no later than July. “Each school board shall adopt policies that are consistent with but may be more comprehensive than the model policies developed by the Department,” according to the bill.
School boards have until January 1, 2023 to implement the new policies.
Almost every single Virginia Senate Democrat just voted against giving parents notification and right of refusal if sexually explicit materials are used in schools.
These are despicable people who should have no power over our children.
— Terry Schilling 🇺🇸 (@Schilling1776) February 9, 2022
The bill now heads to the Virginia House of Delegates, where is it widely expected to pass. Republicans took back control of the Virginia House in November, and a House committee has advanced HB 1009, a companion bill to SB 656.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has made the two bills a priority for his administration, including them on his “Day One” legislative agenda.
Education emerged as voters’ top issue in the Virginia elections last year, amid parental backlash against Critical Race Theory, sexualized, often pro-LGBT school material, and reports of numerous sexual assaults by homosexual and “gender fluid” students that helped propel the GOP to victory in all statewide races. Republicans had not won statewide in Virginia since 2009.
Youngkin campaigned on a platform that emphasized parents rights’ in education. His poll numbers steadily climbed after Democratic nominee and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe declared in a September debate that, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
SB 656 is similar to bipartisan legislation passed by Virginia lawmakers in 2016 that McAuliffe vetoed as governor.