Challenged Library/Instructional Materials
A parent of a district student, any employee, or any district resident may formally challenge an instructional resource used in the District educational program on the basis of appropriateness.
The school receiving a complaint about the appropriateness of an instructional resource shall try to resolve the matter informally using the following procedure:
- The principal or designee shall explain the school’s selection process, the criteria for selection, and the qualifications of the professional staff who selected the questioned material.
- The principal or designee shall explain the role the questioned material plays in the educational program, its intended educational usefulness, and any additional information regarding its use.
- If appropriate, the principal or designee may offer a concerned parent other instructional material to be used by that parent’s child in place of the challenged material.
- If the complainant wishes to make a formal challenge, the principal or designee shall provide the complainant a copy of this policy and a Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form [see EFA(EXHIBIT)].
All formal objections to instructional resources shall be made on the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form. The form shall be completed and signed by the concerned party and filed with the principal, who shall provide copies to the Superintendent or designee.
Upon receipt of the request, the assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum or a designee shall appoint and chair a reconsideration committee. The reconsideration committee shall include at least one member of the instructional staff who either has experience teaching the challenged material or is familiar with the challenged material. Other members of the committee may include District-level staff, library staff, secondary-level students, parents, and others deemed appropriate by the principal. All members of this committee must have read or viewed the material in its entirety.
The reconsideration committee shall review the challenged resource and determine whether it conforms to the principles of selection outlined in this policy.
When the complaint is resolved at any point in the above procedure, the written decision shall be provided to the Superintendent. The decision shall specify that the material:
- Be removed from use;
- Remain in use; or
- Be placed on a reserve shelf and used by students only when written permission of the parent or guardian is received.
The decision of the reconsideration committee is binding for the affected school.
The complainant may appeal the decision of the reconsideration committee in accordance with appropriate complaint policies, starting at the appropriate administrator. [See DGBA, FNG, and GF] The appeal shall contain documentation of the informal reconsideration process, if any, the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form, the reconsideration committee’s report, and dates of conferences with the principal or designee.
The following principles shall guide the Board and staff in responding to challenges of instructional resources:
- A complainant may raise an objection to an instructional resource used in a school’s educational program, despite the fact that the professional staff selecting the resources were qualified to make the selection, followed the proper procedure, and adhered to the objectives and criteria for instructional resources set out in this policy.
- A parent’s ability to exercise control over reading, listening, or viewing matter extends only to his or her own children.
- When instructional resources are challenged, the principles of the freedom to read, listen, and view must be defended as well.
- Access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.
The major criterion for the final decision on challenged materials is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use. No challenged library material shall be removed solely because of the ideas expressed therein.
REMOVAL OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
The District possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries. The District must, however, exercise its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment.
Students’ First Amendment rights are implicated by the removal of books from the shelves of a school library. The District shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the District disagrees. The District may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question.
Bd. of Educ. v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982)