Letter – Let students form opinions

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Last Thursday evening, I attended the Isle of Wight School Board meeting to witness the discussion of Policy IIA. As amended, this Policy contradicts and undermines the official mission and vision from the website for Isle of Wight County Schools.

I was so proud of the students who addressed the board regarding Policy IIA. They were passionate and articulate in stating their concerns that implementing this policy will jeopardize their ability to perform in the competitive college admission process or the workplace. They are hungry for the opportunity to examine, discuss and debate sensitive issues so they may discern and develop their own opinions. Clearly, they have been challenged and well prepared by their teachers.

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I am grateful for the teachers’ dedication, commitment and leadership in the classroom. Several teachers eloquently explained the impact these changes would have on the quality of the whole curriculum and the potential for the removal of Advanced Placement classes. Their expertise was not engaged in preparing these amendments to Policy IIA.

Sadly, some board members are more concerned with appeasing voters who spoke about censoring various works of literature and art and events from history. The board’s responsibility is to ensure that the students receive a strong, thoughtful, challenging, comprehensive education that will equip them to succeed anywhere. Students need opportunities to develop and practice their skills to objectively examine difficult topics and credibly express their viewpoints, even disagree, without judging others’ opinions.

As a retired teacher, I am hopeful that this amended Policy IIA will be genuinely reexamined, engaging all of the talents, expertise and collaboration of professional educators, students and board.


Donelda S. Carson