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603.5 - Teaching Controversial Issues

A controversial issue is a topic of significant academic inquiry about which substantial groups of citizens of this community, this state, or this nation may hold sincere, conflicting points of view.

It is the belief by the board that controversial issues should be fairly presented in a spirit of honest academic dialog so that students may recognize the validity of other points of view and can also learn to formulate their own opinions based upon dispassionate, objective, unbiased study and discussion of the facts related to the controversy.

It is the responsibility of licensed personnel to present full and fair opportunities and means for students to study, consider, and discuss all aspects of controversial issues including but not limited to political philosophies.

It is the responsibility of licensed personnel to protect the rights of the students to study pertinent controversial issues within the limits of good taste and civility, and to allow students to express personal opinions in an appropriate and respectful manner without jeopardizing the students’ relationships with the licensed personnel.

It is the responsibility of licensed personnel to refrain from advocating partisan causes, sectarian religious views, propaganda, or indoctrination of any kind through any classroom or school activity or device. However, licensed personnel will not be prohibited from expressing personal opinions in a balanced and respectful manner as long as students are encouraged to reach their own decisions independently.

The board encourages full discussion of controversial issues in a spirit of academic dialog that shows students they have the right to disagree with the opinions of others, but that they also have the responsibility to base their disagreements on facts or reasoned conclusions and to respect the right of others to hold conflicting opinions.

Adopted: 6/70
Reviewed: 7/11; 9/12; 9/13; 2/15; 4/18; 6/21; 2/24
Revised: 12/07
Related Policy: 602.16; 602.16-R
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§279.8; 280.3, .6
IASB Reference: 603.09; 603.09-R(1)