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Escondido Union ESD |  BP  1312.2  Community Relations

Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials   

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The Board of Education takes great care in the adoption of instructional materials and is aware that all adopted materials may not be acceptable to all students, their parents/guardians, or other district residents.

The superintendent or designee shall implement procedures which will permit proper consideration of complaints against the use of any instructional materials, including textbooks, supplementary textbooks, library books, audiovisual materials, computer software, and equipment.

Grounds for Removal or Restriction of Instructional Materials

Complaints regarding the general use of an instructional material must identify one or more of the following legally advised justifications for removal or restriction of the material:

1. The material is vulgar or obscene.

2. The material is educationally unsuitable in terms of good taste, relevance or appropriateness to age and grade level.

3. The material is psychologically or intellectually inappropriate for the age group.

4. The material is advancing ideas that are manifestly inimical to the public welfare.

Reviewers of complaints at all formal levels of the process described below will determine the appropriateness of the complaint in these terms.

Complaint Procedure

Complaints regarding the use of any instructional materials will be reviewed as follows:

Level 1 - Informal

Individuals wishing to express a complaint regarding the use of any instructional material should first contact the teacher or school employee presenting the material in order to clarify how and why the material is being used. If the individual is not satisfied with the explanation, he/she should schedule a conference with the site principal or administrator to determine if:

1. The complaint may be resolved without excluding the use of the material by any students or teachers; or

2. The complaint may be resolved by providing a reasonable alternative to the use of the material by the complainant's child or children.

If either (1) or (2) is possible to the complainant's and the site administrator's satisfaction, the complaint may be resolved at Level 1. Unresolved complaints at Level 1 will be forwarded to Level 2.

Level 2 - Formal District Committee

The complainant will complete a written complaint form provided by the site administrator at the site where the complaint originated. The site administrator will forward copies of the completed complaint form to the Assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction who will distribute copies to the superintendent, to the board, and to the members of a District Instructional Materials Review Committee. A committee will be established for each complaint according to the following requirements:

Composition of the District Instructional Materials Review Committee

The district committee will be composed of an equal number of parents/guardians and school employees. The committee will include:

6 parents/guardians

1 principal

1 school library technician

1 teacher K-2

1 teacher 3-5

1 teacher 6-8

1 district curriculum administrator

Selection and Service of Committee Members

• Teachers at each site will select representatives from the required grade spans as a pool of individuals available for appointment to the district committee.

• School site councils will select a pool of three parents/guardians from each site available for appointment to the district committee.

• School library technicians (SLT's) will select a pool of two SLT's available for appointment to the district committee.

• All principals will be available for appointment to the district committee.

• The district curriculum administrator will be appointed by the Assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

Teachers, parents/guardians, SLT's and principals will be selected at random from the pool of individuals available for appointment to the District Instructional Materials Review Committee. Individuals from the site where the complaint originated are excluded from the pool of available individuals. Site-based individuals who have served on previous Instructional Materials Review Committees within the same school year will be excluded also. The district curriculum administrator will serve on all Instructional Materials Review Committees in a school year.

Authority of the Committee

The District Instructional Materials Review Committee will review the material and the complaint. The committee will not have the authority to direct the restriction of access to instructional materials for students other than the complainant's child or children, but may recommend such restriction to the Board of Education. The committee will have the flexibility to suggest solutions agreed to by both the complainant and the committee in which:

1. The complaint may be resolved without excluding the material from any students or teachers;

or,

2. The complaint may be resolved by providing a reasonable alternative to the use of the material by the complainant's child or children.

If either (1) or (2) is possible at Level 2, the complaint may be resolved at Level 2. Unresolved complaints at Level 2 will be forwarded to Level 3 and copies of the committee's written recommendations, including dissenting views from the committee, will be forwarded to the Assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, the superintendent, the complainant, and the board.

Level 3 - Formal Board Hearing

The board will review the complaint, the material, and the committee's recommendations and render a final decision regarding the disposition of the complaint.

Elements for Consideration in Reviewing Complaints Regarding Instructional Materials

At each level of formal review in the complaint process, each reviewer will consider the following before rendering an opinion:

1. An honest appraisal of the material based on an examination of the entire work. The reviewer will reflect upon the complainant's stated justification for the complaint, and the reviewer will apply his/her perception of common standards of acceptability for the children using the material.

2. Professional reviews.

3. Status of the material in similar libraries or settings.

4. The rights of all children to access appropriate materials.

Separate Complaints Regarding the Same Material

The resolution of a complaint about a particular material at either Level 1 or Level 2 indicates that an individual solution has been achieved which affects no more than the complainant's own child or children. The board recognizes that another complainant may wish to file a complaint regarding that same material and seek a board decision affecting all children in the district. Such complaints will be processed. However, complaints which are carried through Level 3 will be deemed resolved for the entire district, and therefore, not subject to repeated challenge through the complaint process for the balance of the school year.

Public Notice

District staff and community will be informed of any intended action by the board regarding complaints about instructional materials through the published board agenda.

Complainant's Confidentiality

Once a written complaint has been filed with the district, it becomes a public record. Although an effort can be made to keep the focus of the complaint upon the issues brought forth and not upon the complainant, a request by a member of the public for disclosure of the individual submitting the complaint must be honored.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

18111 Exclusion of books by governing board

35010 Control of district; prescription and enforcement of rules

60003 Power of governing board to select instructional materials

60040-60047 Content requirements for instructional materials

60200-60206 Elementary school material - selection and adoption

60260 Legislative intent for ordering instructional materials

60400-60404 Secondary school textbooks - selection and adoption

Management Resources:

CDE PROGRAM ADVISORIES

1002.90 Selection of instructional materials, CIL: 90/91-02

Policy ESCONDIDO UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: November 20, 1989 Escondido, California

revised: May 28, 1992