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602.02 Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials

602.02          

REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Any resident or employee of the school district may raise objection to instructional materials used in the district’s educational program despite the fact that the individuals selecting such material were duly qualified to make the selection and followed the proper procedure and observed the criteria for selecting such material.

The staff member receiving a complaint regarding instructional materials shall refer the complainant to the building principal who will try to resolve the issue informally.  The materials shall remain in use unless removed throughout the procedure.  The instructional materials must be viewed on school district premises.  Copies may be obtained according to Board policy.

The school building principal receiving a complaint shall:

  1. explain to the complainant the school’s selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the material
  2. explain the particular place the material occupies in the educational programs, its intended educational usefulness, and additional information regarding its use
  3. consult with the staff member(s) from the area/subject/grade where the complaint originated

In the event that the complainant is not satisfied with the initial explanation at the conclusion of the informal conference, the complainant may request a “Reconsideration of Instructional Material” form from the building principal.  At this time the building principal will inform the complainant of the directions for completion of the formal, written complaint.

Request for Reconsideration

Any resident or employee of the school district may formally challenge instructional materials used in the district’s education program on the basis of appropriateness.  This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the schools and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.  Each attendance center and the school district’s central office will keep on hand and make available the reconsideration request forms.  All formal objections to instructional materials must be made on this form.

The reconsideration request form shall be signed by the complainant and filed with the superintendent or someone so designated by the superintendent.

Within five business days of the filing of the form, the superintendent or person designated by the superintendent shall file the material in question with the reconsideration committee for re-evaluation.  The committee shall recommend disposition of the material to the office of the superintendent.

Generally, access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.  However, in unusual circumstances, the material may be removed temporarily.

The Reconsideration Committee

The committee shall consist of eleven members, who shall be designated annually by the superintendent

  1. One teacher
  2. One school media specialist
  3. One member of the administrative staff (this position will normally be filled by the supervisor or person responsible for the district’s media services)
  4. Five members from the community
  5. Three high school students, selected from and by the Student Council

The committee shall select their chairperson and secretary.  The chairperson of the committee shall not be an employee or officer of the district.  The secretary shall be an employee or officer of the district.

The committee shall meet as needed each year at a time and place designated by the superintendent and made known to the members of the committee at least three school days in advance.

A calendar of subsequent regular meetings for the year shall be established and a chairperson and a secretary selected at the first meeting.

The superintendent may call special meetings to consider temporary removal of materials in unusual circumstances.  Temporary removal shall require a two-thirds vote of the committee.

The calendar of regular meetings and notice of special meetings shall be made public through appropriate student publications and other communications methods.

The committee shall receive all reconsideration request forms from the superintendent or person designated by the superintendent.

The procedure for the first meeting following receipt of a reconsideration request form is as follows:

  1. Distribute copies of written request form
  2. Give complainant or group spokesperson an opportunity to talk about and expand on the request form
  3. Distribute reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the material when available
  4. Distribute copies of challenged materials as available

At a subsequent meeting, interested persons, including the complainant, 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.

The complainant shall be kept informed by the secretary concerning the status of the complaint through the committee reconsideration process.

The complainant and known interested parties shall be given appropriate notice of reconsideration committee meetings.

At the second or subsequent meeting, as desired, the committee shall make its decision in open session.  The committee’s final recommendation will be (1) to take no removal action, (2) to remove all or part of the challenged material from the total school environment, (3) to allow students to use alternate titles, approved by school personnel involved, or (4) to limit the educational use of the challenged material.  The sole criteria for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.  The written decision and its justification shall be forwarded to the superintendent for appropriate action and to the complainant and the appropriate attendance center.

A decision to sustain a challenge shall not be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the professional involved in the original selection or use of the material.

Requests to reconsider materials that have previously been before the committee must receive approval of a majority of the committee members before the materials will again be reconsidered.  The committee shall act upon every reconsideration request form.

In the event of a severe overload of challenges, the committee may appoint a subcommittee of members or non-members to consolidate challenges and to make recommendations to the full committee.  The composition of this subcommittee shall approximate the representation on the full committee.

Committee members directly associated with the selection, use, or challenge of the challenged material shall be excused from the committee during the deliberation on such materials.  The superintendent may appoint a temporary replacement for the excused committee member, but such replacement shall be of the same general qualifications of that person(s) excused.

If not satisfied with the decision, any person may request that the matter be placed on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board.

Any person dissatisfied with the decision of the Board may appeal to the State Department of Education pursuant to state law.

 

Approved:         9/18/89         Reviewed:       4/28/14         Revised:          4/10/00______

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