6:260-AP1 – Complaints about Curriculum or Instructional Materials

Resolving complaints about selection and use of learning resources requires recognition of responsibilities and consideration of rights of the individual, student, community, principal, teacher, librarian/media specialist, school and School Board.

In reviewing complaints, the following questions should be asked to determine whether the complaint points up inconsistencies with the school district’s initial selection objectives:

1. Are the materials appropriate for instructional use such that they enrich and support attainment of educational objectives of the curriculum, taking into consideration varied interests, abilities, intellectual development and maturity levels of students served and standards of the community?

2. Do the materials stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards?

3. Do the materials provide a background of information which will enable students to make intelligent judgments in their daily lives?

4. Do the materials contribute to presentation of opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical analysis of all media?

5. Are the materials representative of the many religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contributions to our American heritage?

6. Do the materials promote the goal of providing a comprehensive collection appropriate for interests and needs of users, recognizing their right to access a wide range of reading materials

Procedures for Review

Most complaints can and should be resolved at the building level. Many concerns are the result of simple misunderstandings or misinformation and can be resolved through informal inquiry and discussions with principals and/or teachers or librarians/ media specialists.

When a complaint is received, the principal will check decisions on questioned and challenged learning resources on file in the office of Curriculum and Instruction to determine whether the learning resource has been questioned before. If a decision is on file and the challenge is substantially the same, the principal will share such decision with the complainant. If any significant difference is found in the new challenge or the learning resource has not been challenged before, the following procedure shall apply.

1. Discussion with Principal

a. The principal will hold a conference with the complainant. At the discretion of the principal, the teacher or librarian/media specialist using the resource will be present during the conference.

b. If the complainant is dissatisfied with results of the conference or proposed action in response to the complaint affects availability of materials to or use by other students, the principal will inform the complainant of this regulation and provide the complainant with the appropriate form, Challenge of Instructional Materials or Curriculum Objection.

c. Upon receipt of the appropriate, completed form, the principal will forward the form, with a written report of the conference held with the complainant, to the director of curriculum/instruction, the teacher or librarian/media specialist involved and the complainant.

2. Review and Recommendation by the Challenged Materials Committee or Curriculum Review Committee

a. The director of curriculum/instruction will promptly review the form and report to determine completeness and specificity of the complaint obtain a copy of the learning resource being questioned and schedule a meeting of the Challenged Materials Committee or Curriculum Review Committee.

b. The Challenged Materials Committee shall be comprised of the president of the Interschool Council (or designee), one principal, one librarian/media specialist and one teacher. The principal, media specialist and teacher will be selected by the director of curriculum/ instruction or his or her designee on an ad hoc basis. All Committee members will come from schools other than the one involved, and they will give consideration to geographic diversity and positions appropriate to the educational level of student(s) affected.

The Curriculum Committee shall be comprised of members of the most recent curriculum review, the president of the Innerschool Council (or designee), and one principal.

c. Oral and/or written testimony for consideration by the Committee will be limited to the complainant or his or her designee, teacher or librarian/media specialist involved, principal and appropriate school district administrator.

d. The Committee will provide a written report and recommendation to the Superintendent after reviewing and considering the following: i) written complaint; ii) principal’s report; iii) available professional reviews; iv) applicable curriculum guides; v) objectives, criteria and procedure for initial selection of materials; and vi) merits of questioned materials taken as a whole.

e. The Committee’s review, evaluation and recommendations shall be limited to specific matters stated on the form, Challenge of Instructional Materials or Curriculum Objection.

3. Decision of Superintendent

The Superintendent will review the Committee’s report and recommendations and will submit a decision to the School Board. The Superintendent will also inform the complainant, Committee members and staff members involved of his or her decision.

4. Alternative Courses of Action

In a materials challenge, after consideration of the complaint, the following courses of action are available: no change in status or use of the materials; provide optional or alternative assignment; use with professional guidance use with parent permission place materials at a higher grade level; place other limitations upon use of the materials withdraw from use by all students of the school; or withdraw from all schools in the district.

In a curriculum objection, after consideration of the complaint, the following courses of action are available: no change in the curriculum, alternative curriculum or program for student, revision of the curriculum for district-wide use.

5. Appeal to/Review by the School Board

The complainant, any other citizen within the school district or any staff member has the right to appear before the School Board during the next regular meeting following receipt of the Superintendent’s decision to appeal. Any School Board member may also request that the decision be reviewed in the absence of an appeal. The School Board will consider any appeal or, in the absence of an appeal, close the appeal process during such meeting.

6. Status During Review/Appeal

In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, no action affecting availability to students of previously approved learning resources or change in curriculum shall be made until such time as the review/appeal process has been completed.

Date Adopted: 04/10/2007