605.03 - Objection to Instructional and Library Materials605.03 - Objection to Instructional and Library Materials
Members of the school district community may object to the instructional materials utilized in the school district and ask for their use to be reconsidered.
It is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the principals, to develop administrative regulations for reconsideration of instructional materials. Information related to the process for reconsideration of instructional and library materials will be made available on the district’s website.
Cross Reference: 215 Public Participation in Board Meetings
402.5 Public Complaints About Employees
602 Curriculum Development
605 Instructional Materials
Reviewed: 04/21/2008, 01/21/2013
Revised: 06/15/2009, 03/19/2018, 09/21/2023
605.03E1 - Instructions to the Reconsideration Committee605.03E1 - Instructions to the Reconsideration Committee
The policy of this school district related to selection of learning materials states that any member of the school district community may formally challenge instructional and library materials used in the district's education program. This policy allows those persons in the school and the community who are not directly involved in the selection of materials to make their own opinions known. The task of the reconsideration committee is to make an informed recommendation on the challenge. The meetings of the committee may be subject to the open meetings law.
The most critical component of the reconsideration process is the establishment and maintenance of the committee's credibility in the community. For this purpose, the committee is composed of a combination of community members and licensed employees as detailed in 605.03R1. The community should not, therefore, infer that the committee is biased or is obligated to uphold prior professional decisions.
The reconsideration process, the task of this committee, is just one part of the selection continuum. Material is purchased to meet a need. It is reviewed and examined, if possible, prior to purchase. It is periodically re-evaluated through updating, discarding, or re-examination. The committee must be ready to acknowledge that an error in selection may have been made despite this process. Librarians and school employees regularly read great numbers of reviews in the selection process, and occasional errors are possible.
In reconsidering challenged materials, the role of the committee, and particularly the chairperson, is to produce a climate for meaningful discussion of disparate views. The committee should begin by finding items of agreement, keeping in mind that the larger the group participating, the greater the amount of information available and, therefore, the greater the number of possible approaches to the problem.
The committee may, at its discretion, hear an oral presentation from the complainant to the committee to expand and elaborate on the complaint. The committee may listen to the complainant, to those with special knowledge, and any other interested persons. In these discussions, the committee should be aware of relevant social pressures which are affecting the situation. Individuals who may try to dominate or impose a decision must not be allowed to do so. Minority viewpoints expressed by groups or individuals must be heard, and observers must be made to feel welcome. It is important that the committee create a calm, nonvolatile environment in which to deal with a potentially volatile situation. To this end, the complainant will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint.
The committee will listen to the views of all interested persons before making recommendations. In deliberating its recommendation, the committee should remember that the school system must be responsive to the needs, tastes, and opinions of the community it serves. Therefore, the committee must distinguish between broad community sentiment and attempts to impose personal standards. The deliberations should concentrate on the appropriateness of the material. The question to be answered by the committee is, "Is the material appropriate for its designated audience at this time?"
The committee's final recommendation will be (1) to remove the challenged material from the total school environment, (2) to take no removal action, or (3) to agree on a limitation of the educational use of the materials.
The committee chairperson will instruct the secretary to convey the committee's recommendation to the office of the superintendent. The recommendation should detail the rationale on which it was based. A letter will be sent to the complainant outlining the outcome.
605.03E2 - Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Request Form605.03E2 - Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Request Form
Request for re-evaluation of printed or multimedia material to be submitted to the superintendent.
REVIEW INITIATED BY: DATE:
City/State: __________________________________ Zip/Code: _____________ Telephone: ________________
School(s) in which item is used ___________________________________________________________________
Relationship to school (parent, student, citizen, etc.) ___________________________________________________
BOOK OR OTHER PRINTED MATERIAL IF APPLICABLE:
Author: ___________________________________ Hardcover: ________ Paperback ________ Other ________
Publisher (if known) ____________________________________________________________________________
Date of publication _____________________________________________________________________________
MULTIMEDIA MATERIAL IF APPLICABLE:
Producer (if known) ____________________________________________________________________________
Type of material (dvd, software, website, online resources, etc.) ___________
PERSON MAKING THE REQUEST REPRESENTS: (circle one)
Self Group or Organzation
Name of group ____________________________________________________________________________
Address of group __________________________________________________________________________
1. What brought the item to your attention?
2. To what in the item do you object? (please be specific; cite pages or frames, etc.)
3. In your opinion, what harmful effects upon students might result from use of this item?
4. Do you perceive any instructional value in the use of this item?
5. Did you review the entire item? If not, what sections did you review?
6. Should the opinion of any additional experts in the field be considered?
_____ yes _____ no
If yes, please list specific suggestions: __________________________________________________________
7. To replace the item, do you recommend other material which you consider to be of equal or superior quality for
the purpose intended?
8. Do you wish to make an oral presentation to the Review Committee?
_____ Yes (a) Please contact the superintendent
(b) Please be prepared at this time to indicate the approximate length of time your presentation will
require. Although this is no guarantee that you will get your requested amount of time.
605.03E3 - Sample Letter to Individual Challenging Instructional or Library Materials605.03E3 - Sample Letter to Individual Challenging Instructional or Library Materials
We recognize your concern about the use of in our school district. The school district has developed procedures for selection of instructional materials but realizes that not everyone will agree with every selection made.
To help you understand the selection process, we are sending copies of the school district's:
1. Instructional goals and objectives,
2. Instructional and Library Materials Selection policy statement, and
3. Procedure for reconsideration of instructional and library materials.
If you are still concerned after you review this material, please complete the Reconsideration Request Form and return it to me. You may be assured of prompt attention to your request. If I have not heard from you within one week, we will assume you no longer wish to file a formal complaint.
605.03R1 - Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Regulation605.03R1 - Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Regulation
A. A member of the school district community may raise an objection to instructional materials used in the school district's education program. While the individuals recommending the selection of such material were duly qualified to make the selection and followed the proper procedure and observed the criteria for selecting such material; the district must be ready to acknowledge that an error in selection may have been made despite this process. School employees regularly read great numbers of reviews in the selection process, and occasional errors are possible.
1. The complainant will address the complaint at the lowest organizational level of licensed staff. Often this will be the classroom teacher.
2. The school official or employee receiving a complaint regarding instructional or library materials will try to resolve the issue at the lowest organizational level. The materials generally will remain in use pending the outcome of the reconsideration procedure.
a. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint will explain to the individual the district's selection procedure, criteria to be met by the instructional materials, and qualifications of those persons selecting the material.
b. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint will explain to the individual the role of the objected material in the education program, its intended educational purpose, and additional information regarding its use. In the alternative, the employee may refer the individual to the teacher-librarian who can identify and explain the use of the material.
c. The school official or employee receiving the initial complaint will direct the complainant to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Form, and notify the building level principal of receipt of the complaint within two school days after the reconsideration form is received. Schools officials will offer to assist the complainant in completing the form, but if a complainant refuses to complete the form, the complaint will be deemed invalid and no further action taken.
B. Request for Reconsideration
1. A member of the school district community may formally challenge instructional and library materials on the basis of appropriateness used in the school district's education program. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the school district and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
2. Each attendance center and the school district's central administrative office will keep on hand and make available Request for Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Forms.
3. The individual will state the specific reason the instructional or library material is being challenged. The Request for Reconsideration of Instructional and Library Materials Form is signed by the individual and filed with the building-level principal.
4. The building-level principal will promptly file the objection with the Superintendent for re-evaluation.
5. The superintendent will convene a reconsideration committee within two weeks of receipt of the Reconsideration Form.
6. The committee will make their recommendation to the superintendent within five school days of meeting.
7. The superintendent will issue a decision related to the Reconsideration Request Form within 5 school days of receipt of the committee’s recommendation. A copy of the superintendent’s decision will be provided to the complainant.
8. An appeal of the superintendent’s decision may be filed with the board secretary within five days of the superintendent’s decision. The board will determine whether to hear the appeal at the next regular meeting or within 30 days of the superintendent’s decision, whichever is later. If the board elects to hear the appeal, the board will act to affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the superintendent. The board’s decision will be communicated to the complainant. The board’s decision will be deemed final.
9. Generally, access to challenged instructional material will not be restricted during the reconsideration process. However, in unusual circumstances, the instructional material may be removed temporarily by following the provisions of Section B.10.d. of this rule.
10. The Reconsideration Committee
a. The reconsideration committee is made up of six members.
(1) One licensed employee designated annually by the superintendent.
(2) One teacher-librarian designated annually by the superintendent.
(3) One member of the administrative team designated annually by the superintendent.
(4) Three members of the community appointed annually by the superintendent.
b. The committee will select their chairperson and secretary.
c. The committee will meet at the request of the superintendent.
d. Special meetings may be called by the board to consider temporary removal of materials in unusual circumstances. A recommendation for temporary removal will require a two-thirds vote of the board.
e. The committee may be subject to applicable open meetings and public records laws. Notice of the committee meeting is made public through appropriate communication methods as required by law.
f. The committee will receive the completed Reconsideration Request Form from the superintendent.
g. The committee will determine its agenda for the meeting which may include the following:
(1) Distribution of copies of the completed Reconsideration Request Form.
(2) An opportunity for the individual or a group spokesperson to talk about or expand on the Reconsideration Request Form.
(3) Distribution of reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the challenged instructional material if available.
(4) Distribution of copies of the challenged instructional material as available
h. The Committee will determine whether interested persons, including the individual filing the challenge, may have the opportunity to share their views. The committee may request that individuals with special knowledge be present to give information to the committee.
i. The committee's final recommendation may be to take no removal action, to remove the challenged material from the school environment, or to limit the educational use of the challenged material. The sole criterion for the final recommendation is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use. The written final recommendation and its justification are forwarded to the superintendent, the complainant and the appropriate attendance centers.
j. The individual filing the challenge is kept informed by the Superintendent of the status of the reconsideration request throughout the reconsideration process. The individual filing the challenge and known interested parties are given appropriate notice of meetings as required by law.
k. Following the superintendent’s decision with respect to the committee's recommendation, the individual may appeal the decision to the board for review.
l. A recommendation to sustain a challenge will not be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the individuals involved in the original selection or use of the material.
m. Requests to reconsider materials which have previously been reconsidered by the committee must receive approval of two-thirds of the committee members before the materials will again be reconsidered.
n. If necessary or appropriate in the judgment of the committee, the committee may consolidate related challenges, or decline to hear multiple challenges to the same materials. Generally, the committee will not hear subsequent challenges to the same materials within the same school year.