005: Challenges to Textbooks and Other Instructional Materials

  • Challenges to textbooks and other instructional materials may occur even where they have been carefully selected by qualified personnel in accordance with established guidelines. The Board recognizes that parents have an interest in the education of their children; however, a parent’s right to direct their children’s education does not allow them to dictate the curriculum for all students, and administration may not remove materials solely because of disagreement with the ideas they present or distaste for the identity of the author. School staff will comply with the following procedures, which shall apply to any complaint concerning a textbook or other instructional material.  

    1. All challenges to textbooks and other instructional materials must be received in writing. Upon receiving a challenge, the Superintendent shall establish an Instructional Review Committee to investigate and judge any challenged material. The Committee shall consist of the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, an administrator, a library media specialist, and at least two teachers. Each member of the Committee will have one vote, and decisions will be made by majority vote of the Committee. The Committee shall only convene at such times as challenges occur.   
    2. Within two weeks after a complaint is received, the building principal shall hold an informal meeting with the complainant and the teacher or other staff member who is using or providing the book or material. At this meeting, the complainant will be asked to clearly articulate their objection to the material. The building principal and teacher will listen attentively and explain the curriculum creation process, the criteria employed to make the selection, and the educational purpose of the challenged material. 
    3. The challenged material will remain available until the superintendent has made a final decision based upon advisement from the committee. (No material will be removed from the curriculum without being reviewed by the Committee.)  
    4. The Committee shall schedule a formal reconsideration meeting within 30 days of the receipt of the Request. In the case of simultaneous challenges to multiple instructional materials, the Committee may extend this timeline by establishing a reasonable meeting schedule of at least 30 days per material that allows for a comprehensive review of each challenged material.   
    5. Committee meetings shall be closed to the public.
    6. Each time a material is challenged, members of the Committee will compile and distribute a packet containing the written challenge, reviews of the resource being reconsidered, a list of awards or honors, if any, and any supplementary materials necessary to assess the educational purpose of the material. If necessary, the Superintendent will obtain additional copies of the material for Committee members. 
    7. The educator’s selection of a curricular or instructional material may be overcome only if the Committee concludes that the inclusion of the material does not serve an educational purpose in accordance with the district’s curriculum guidelines and instructional goals.  
    8. If the complainant disagrees with the decision made by district staff, a request for reconsideration can be made in writing to the Board of Education (BOE). The BOE will then make a final determination regarding the challenge based on their own review. If the challenged material is retained, no new challenges to that item will be considered for five years after the resolution of the Request by the Board.