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San Bruno Park ESD |  AR  6144  Instruction

Controversial Issues   

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Controversial issues may be discussed in the classroom, provided that:

1. The issue is related to the course of study and provides opportunities for critical thinking, for developing tolerance, and for understanding conflicting points of view.

2. The issue has a meaningful relationship to matters of concern to the students.

3. Available information about the issue is sufficient to allow alternative points of view to be discussed and evaluated on a factual basis.

4. All sides of the issue are given a proper hearing, using established facts as primary evidence.

5. The issue has points of view which can be understood and defined by the students.

6. The teacher does not use his/her position to forward his/her own religious, political, economic or social bias. The teacher may express a personal opinion if he/she identifies it as such and does not express the opinion for the purpose of persuading students to his/her point of view.

7. Discussion or study of the issue is instigated by the students or by the established curriculum, but not by a source outside of the schools.

8. The discussion does not reflect adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, handicap or occupation.

9. The oral or written presentation does not violate state or federal law.

The Superintendent, Principal, or Assistant Principal shall have the authority to judge whether the above conditions are being met.


The procedures outlined below are especially pertinent to instruction regarding controversial issues. When resource speakers are used as part of the instructional program, the following procedures shall be followed:

1. Speakers shall be selected carefully. The principal shall be notified prior to the use of resource speakers. Advance contact shall be made with resource speakers by the teacher to discuss and outlined the presentation.

2. Request for Visiting Resource Speakers (E 6144) shall be completed by the classroom teacher.

3. A written invitation shall be sent by the principal to the visiting resource speaker prior to the presentation. The invitation shall be signed by both the teacher and the building principal. The invitation shall include the following information:

a. Date and time of presentation

b. Place of presentation

c. General topic to be discussed

d. Payment of Honorarium or fee

4. Parents/guardians shall be notified by letter of the visiting resource speaker. The letter shall include the following information:

a. Name of speaker

b. Background or credentials

c. Topic

d. Date and time of presentation

5. If printed materials are to be distributed by the resource speaker to the students, a sample of each item shall be submitted to the principal no later than five days, for his/her approval, prior to the presentation.

6. Appropriate class presentation and follow-up activities should be planned by the person(s) using the resource speaker so that the maximum benefit is gained from the speaker's presentation.


approved: October 13, 2004 San Bruno, California