In Henrico, Virginia Senate candidates battle over ‘banning books’ accusation
Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant sends legal threat over ad accusing her of supporting censorship in schools
A recent Virginia law dealing with sexually explicit books in K-12 schools is becoming the latest flashpoint in a high-profile state Senate race between Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Dunnavant said she’s sending a cease and desist letter to the VanValkenburg campaign and TV stations airing a new ad that claims the 2022 law Dunnavant wrote inspired “MAGA Republicans” across the state to ban and censor books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
“As a teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg knows the difference one book can make for a child,” says the ad from VanValkenburg, a civics teacher at Henrico County’s Glen Allen High School.
Dunnavant said the accusations about school books are part of a pattern of misrepresentation and “deceptiveness” by VanValkenburg’s campaign. She said the bill she wrote, which requires schools to notify parents of reading assignments that contain sexually explicit content, includes a line saying it should not be understood as “requiring or providing for the censoring of books.”
“It’s in the law. Those are my words. I put that amendment on the bill,” Dunnavant said. “This is an absolute false accusation.”
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, VanValkenburg’s campaign stood by the ad’s veracity.
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