- Science to Go
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The Board had approved principles governing the selction of all instrucitonal materials including library books and had established policies pertaining to the selection process. However, the Board wishes to amplify its principles on the selection of books and other materials which present controversial topics or which for other reasons might be challenged.
Material that is challenged usually belongs to one of the three basic categories: religion, ideology or profanity/obscenity. Board policies regarding these areas shall be as follows:
1. Religion - Factual, unbiased material on all major religions has a place in school libraries.
2. Ideologies - Libraries should, with no thought toward swaying reader judgement, make available a balanced collection of primary and factual material on the level of their students on various ideologies or philosophies which exert or have exerted a strong force, whether favorably or unfavorably, in government, current events, politics, education and other phases of life.
3. Profanity/obscenity - Materials shall be subjected to a test of literary merit by media specialists and teachers who will take into consideration the maturity of students and the standards of the community.
Criticism of a book or other materials used in the schools may be expeted from time to time. In such instances:
1. The Board recognizes that it is accountable to the public and that is the right of an individual parent/guardian to request that his/her child not read a given book. When such a request is presented, the teacher and/or school administrator should resolve the situation by arranging for use of alternative materials meeting essentially the same instructional purpose. This does not apply, however, to basic program texts and materials that the Board has adopted.
2. The Board shall not permit any individual or group to exercise censorship over instructional materials and library collections but recognizes that at times a reevaluation of certain materials may be desireable. Should an individual or group ask to have any book or other material withdrawn from school use:
a) The person who objects to the book or other material shall be asked to sign a complaint on a standard form on which that person will document the criticism.
b) Following receipt of the formal complaint, the superintendent or designee shall provide for a reevaluation of the material in question.
c) The reevaluation shall be based on the points offered above as well as the principles governing the selection of all instructional materials. Additionally, the Board wishes to emphasize that: (1) A book shall not be excluded because of the writer's race or nationality or political or religious views. (2) The value of any book or other material shall be judged as a whole taking into account the purpose of the material rather than individual, isolated expressions or incidents in the work.
d) The superintendent or designee shall review the complaint and reevalutation and shall render a decision in the matter. Should the solution be unsatisfactory, the complainant may appeal the decision to the Board.
In summary, the Board assumes final responsibility for all books and instructional materials it makes available to students. It holds its professional staff accountable for their proper selection. It recognizes rights of indvidual parents/guardians with respect to controversial materials used by their own children. It will provide for the reevaluation of materials in library collections upon formal request.
Adopeted: February 16, 1976
Revised: September 12, 1984
Revised: April 22, 1992
Revised: June 25, 2008
Revised: October 28, 2015
CROSS REF.: IJ, Instructional Resources and Materials
CONTRACT REF.: SVVEA Agreement, Article 12–Academic Freedom and Controversial Issues