A resident of the school district community may raise an objection to instructional materials used in the district’s education program despite the fact that the individuals selecting such materials were duly qualified to make the selection, followed proper procedures, and observed the criteria for selecting such materials.
Procedures Prior to Filing a Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials
The school official or employee receiving a complaint regarding instructional materials will try to resolve the issue informally. The materials generally will remain in use pending the outcome of the reconsideration procedure.
- The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint will explain to the individual the board’s selection procedures, criteria to be met by the instructional materials, and qualifications of those persons selecting the materials.
- 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 materials.
The employee receiving the initial complaint will advise the building principal of the initial contact no later than the end of the school day following the discussion with the individual, whether or not the individual has been satisfied by the initial contact. A written record of the contact is maintained by the principal in charge of the attendance center. Each building principal will inform employees of their obligation to report complaints.
In the event the individual making an objection to instructional materials is not satisfied with the initial explanation, the individual is referred to the principal or to the teacher-librarian of the attendance center. If after consultation with the principal or teacher-librarian the individual desires to file a formal complaint, the principal or teacher-librarian will assist in filling out a Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Request Form (Refer to Policy 602.29-E) in full and file it with the superintendent.
Request for Reconsideration
A resident of the school district community may formally challenge instructional materials on the basis of appropriateness used in the district’s education program. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the district and community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
Each attendance center and the district’s central administrative office will keep on hand and make available the Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Request Form (Refer to Policy 602.29-E). Formal objections to instructional materials must be made using this form.
The individual will state the specific reason the instructional material is being challenged. The Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Request Form (Refer to Policy 602.29-E) is signed by the individual and filed with the superintendent. The superintendent will promptly file the objection with the Reconsideration Committee for re-evaluation.
Generally, access to challenged instructional materials will not be restricted during the reconsideration process. However, in unusual circumstances the instructional materials may be removed temporarily by following Item C under “The Reconsideration Committee” below.
The Reconsideration Committee
The Reconsideration Committee is made up of seven members:
- One licensed employee designated, as needed, by the superintendent.
- One teacher-librarian designated, as needed, by the superintendent.
- One member of the administrative team designated, as needed, by the superintendent.
- Three members of the community appointed annually, as needed, by the superintendent.
- The superintendent [or designee].
- The committee will select their chairperson and secretary.
- The committee will meet at the request of the superintendent.
- 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 committee.
- Notice of committee meetings is made public through appropriate publications and other communications methods.
- The committee will receive the completed Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Request Form (Refer to Policy 602.29-E) from the superintendent [or designee].
- The committee will determine its agenda for the first meeting, which may include the following:
- Distribution of copies of the completed reconsideration request form.
- An opportunity for the individual or a group spokesperson to talk about or expand on the reconsideration request form.
- Distribution of reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the challenged instructional materials, if available.
- Distribution of copies of the challenged instructional materials, if available.
- The committee may review the selection process for the challenged instructional materials and may, to its satisfaction, determine that the challenge is without merit and dismiss the challenge. The committee will notify the individual and the superintendent of its action.
- At a subsequent meeting, if held, 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.
- The individual filing the challenge is kept informed by the Reconsideration Committee secretary on the status of the reconsideration request throughout the process. The individual filing the request and known interested parties are given appropriate notice of meetings.
- At the second, or subsequent meeting, the committee will make its final recommendation. The committee’s final recommendation may be to take no removal action, to remove the challenged materials from the school environment, or to limit the educational use of the challenged materials. The sole criterion for the final recommendation is the appropriateness of the materials for its intended educational use. The written, final recommendation and its justification are forwarded to the superintendent, the individual, and the appropriate attendance centers. The superintendent may also make a recommendation but, if so, it should be independent from the committee’s recommendation.
- Following the superintendent’s decision with respect to the committee’s recommendation, the individual or the chairperson of the Reconsideration Committee may appeal the decision to the board for review. Such appeals must be presented to the superintendent in writing within five days following the announcement of the superintendent’s decision. The board will promptly determine whether to hear the appeal.
- 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 materials.
- 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.
- If necessary or appropriate in the judgment of the committee, 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 the subcommittee will approximate the representation of the full committee.
- Committee members directly associated with the selection, use, or challenge of the materials are excused from the committee during the deliberation of the challenged instructional materials. The superintendent may appoint a temporary replacement for the excused committee member, but the replacement must be of the same general qualifications as the member excused.
- Persons dissatisfied with the decision of the board may appeal to the Iowa Board of Education.
Reviewed: 6/12; 9/13; 4/15; 1/18; 2/21
Related Policy (Code#): 602.28; 602.29; 602.29-E
IASB Reference: 605.3R1