Teaching Controversial Issues
When a teacher has planned the use of potentially controversial instructional materials, the teacher must: a) have prior approval from his/her immediate supervisor and b) provide an opportunity for the parents/ guardians to grant or refuse permission for their son or daughter to participate in the class in question (see sample permission letters in Appendices I and II). Examples include- publicly rated "R" media, print, non-print, and electronically transmitted information.
A description of the cultural, historical, and/ or educational value of the presentation or public performance of a controversial musical work must be provided in writing and/ or in a public statement prior to its presentation or performance.
Films rated "NC-17" and "X" by the Motion Picture Industry of America are considered unsuitable for presentation in the classroom, on field trips, and in any school related activities.
Review of Complaints Concerning Controversial Issues, Materials, and Curricula
Upon receipt of a complaint regarding controversial issues or materials, the following steps should be taken in an attempt to resolve the issue consistent with the rights and responsibilities of all involved.
The appropriate building administrator should contact the complainant and try to satisfy his/ her objections to this issue.
A copy of "Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" (see Appendix III) should be sent to the complainant with the request that the complainant complete the information on the form prior to the scheduling of a meeting with the appropriate building administrators and the teachers concerned. This meeting should be at a time mutually agreeable to all parties.
A copy of the course outcomes with specific attention to those outcomes in which the controversial issue is presented should be sent to the complainant.
If the complainant is still not satisfied, a report will be prepared by the building administrators and sent to the assistant superintendent for instruction. The assistant superintendent for instruction will review the issue and select a district committee, chaired by the district divisional coordinator, with members selected according to the type of issue involved. This committee should report its deliberations and recommendations to the assistant superintendent for instruction for appropriate action or decision. If the complainant is not satisfied with the recommendation, he/ she may appeal the decision to the Board of Education.