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Sweetwater Un HSD |  BP  1312.2  Community Relations

Instructional Materials - Process For Reconsideration   

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Concerns or Complaints Regarding Adopted Instructional Materials

The Board of Trustees recognizes that instructional material already in use may be questioned.

To consider complaints regarding the content of instructional materials, the procedures outlined in this Board policy shall be followed and shall be applied in an impartial manner.

Initial Steps in Handling Complaints or Requests for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials

1. Initially, complaints regarding instructional materials will be handled in an informal manner by the site principal and the staff member(s) involved. Every effort will be made at this level to come to a resolution.

2. If the complaint is not resolved informally to the satisfaction of the complainant, the complainant may request formal consideration of the complaint.

3. Upon such a request, the site principal will deliver a packet to the complainant that includes:

a. The Board-approved course description, instructional goals, and objectives for the specific course.

b. The Board policies and administrative regulations for the Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials and Instructional Materials-Process for Reconsideration.

c. A copy of the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights which shall be provided to the complainant for informational purposes.

4. If the complainant wants formal consideration of the complaint, the specific questions or criticisms of the complaint shall be presented to the principal in writing, using the appropriate district form: "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials," available in the office of curriculum.

5. The instructional materials under reconsideration because of the complaint process shall continue to be used in the school(s) and shall not be restricted from use by any class, school, or the district until final disposition has been made by the review committee, the director of curriculum and instruction, the assistant Superintendent and the Board.

a. If the parent/guardian requests, an individual student may be excused from using the materials being reconsidered until the final disposition of the complaint is made.

b. The teacher of the student will then assign him/her alternative materials of equal merit.

Receipt and Processing of Formal Complaints Regarding Instructional Materials

Upon receipt of the formal written complaint, the following procedure shall be followed:

1. Within four (4) school days of receipt of the complaint, the site principal will acknowledge receipt of the formal complaint.

a. The principal will also answer any questions regarding procedure by providing the complainant written information.

b. The site principal shall be responsible to record the date on which he/she received the formal complaint and the date of receipt shall be noted prominently on the district complaint form entitled: "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials."

2. Within six school days of the receipt of the complaint, the site principal will then notify the director of curriculum and instruction and other employees involved that a formal complaint has been received.

3. The director of curriculum and instruction will complete the following steps and procedures:

a. Review the complaint with the site principal and discuss possible review committee members.

b. Within 10 calendar days of his/her notification of the formal complaint, appoint a review committee to include a minimum of three certificated educators directly concerned from the site where the formal complaint was filed. The committee will include:

(1) One administrator.

(2) Two teachers.

(3) One parent/guardian.

(4) One student, where appropriate.

c. Serving as chairperson, convene the committee as many times as necessary to resolve the complaint.

d. Direct the review committee to consider the following items in its study and discussion of the pending complaint:

(1) The educational philosophy of the district.

(2) The professional opinions of other teachers of the same subject.

(3) The professional opinions of other competent authorities.

(4) Review of the materials by reputable bodies.

(5) The teacher's own stated objectives in using the materials.

(6) The interest of the students in freedom of speech and expression.

(7) The objections stated by the complainant.

(8) The compliance by the complainant in reading the material being questioned in its entirety or in the context of the classroom instruction.

e. Provide the complainant and the employee the opportunity to meet with him/her and to address the review committee before final consideration and deliberations are completed.

f. Upon completion of the reconsideration of the instructional materials complaint process, the director of curriculum shall prepare a written report that explains the following:

(1) The procedure the committee followed.

(2) The committee's findings.

(3) The committee's response to the complainant's concerns.

(4) The final recommendation of the committee for the resolution of the complaint.

g. Within forty-five (45) calendar days of the original notification of the formal complaint, the final report must be submitted to the assistant Superintendent for curriculum.

(1) During the forty-five (45) day period the director of curriculum and instruction must meet with the complainant to present him/her with the report and review the rationale of the committee and the decision rendered.

(2) If a meeting is impossible, the full report and written explanations may be mailed.

(3) The complainant shall also be advised in writing that he/she has ten (10) calendar days from the date of the mailing or personal meeting to submit a written statement of appeal if he/she chooses to appeal the decision. If the complainant decides to appeal, he/she must briefly explain the reason for the appeal.

First Level of Appeal Process to the Assistant Superintendent Responsible for the Instructional Support Services Division

If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the review committee and states objections in writing within ten (10) calendar days after the decision is deposited in the U.S. mail or delivered personally to the complainant, the matter will be referred to the assistant Superintendent for curriculum.

1 The assistant Superintendent will meet with the director of curriculum and instruction to review the complaint in detail. Strong consideration should be given to the rationale, documentation and decision of the review committee.

2. Within ten (10) school days of the receipt of the appeal letter from the complainant the assistant Superintendent for curriculum will render a written decision and meet with the complainant to review the decision and the rationale behind it.

a. If a meeting is impossible, the written decision may be mailed within the same ten (10) day requirement.

b. The complainant shall also be advised in writing that he/she has ten (10) calendar days from the date of mailing or the personal meeting with the assistant Superintendent to submit a second written statement of appeal setting forth briefly the reason for the appeal.

Second Level of Appeal Process to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees

If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the area Superintendent and objects to the decision in writing within ten (10) school days after the decision is deposited in the U.S. mail or delivered personally to the complainant, the Board may send the complainant to an appeals committee or may adopt the assistant Superintendent for curriculum's decision as final.

1. If the determination by the Board is to refer the complaint to a district appeals committee, the Superintendent shall form a six (6) member district level committee. Committee members shall not be from the site from which the complaint originated. The committee membership will include:

a. A teacher representing the curriculum area in question.

b. A library-media teacher/specialist.

c. A principal.

d. A district office administrator.

e. A parent/guardian.

f. A student selected by the Superintendent.

2. The district appeals committee shall be appointed to study the material and the previous decisions and reports and shall make a decision following the same process as required for the administrator's or building committee.

a. Before its final consideration and deliberations concerning the complaint, the appeals committee shall provide the complainant and the employee an opportunity to address the full district appeals committee.

b. The district appeals committee shall deliver its written decision to the Superintendent within fifteen (15) calendar days of the appointment of the full district appeals committee by the Superintendent.

c. The written decision of the district appeals committee shall be presented in writing to the Board for its final decision within thirty (30) calendar days after the decision is delivered to the Superintendent.

3. A copy of the written report of the appeals committee shall be provided to the complainant and the complainant shall be advised of the date, time, and place of the Board meeting when the matter will be considered by the Board.

4. If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of appeals committee and objects to the decision in writing within ten (10) calendars days after the decision is deposited in the U.S. mail or delivered personally to the complainant, the Board may consider a report of the Superintendent regarding the matter and all previous reports and decisions regarding the complaint. The Board may then render a decision in the matter which shall be final.

Disposition of Instructional Materials if Denied Continued Use

Any instructional materials that are denied continued use as a result of action by any phase of this Board policy need to be acted upon by the Board to remove them from the list of adopted textbooks and instructional materials.

Adjustment of Deadlines

Any of the deadlines for action specified in this Board policy are subject to adjustment for reasonable cause as determined by the sole discretion of the Superintendent.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

18111 Exclusion of books by governing board

35010 Control of district; prescription and enforcement of rules

35186 Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures

44805 Enforcement of course of studies; use of textbooks, rules and regulations

51501 Subject matter reflecting on race, color, etc.

60000-60005 Instructional materials, legislative intent

60040-60048 Instructional requirements and materials

60119 Public hearing on sufficiency of materials

60200-60206 Elementary school materials

60226 Requirements for publishers and manufacturers

60400-60411 High school textbooks

60510-60511 Donation of sale of obsolete instructional materials

Management Resources:

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROGRAM ADVISORIES

1002.90 Selection of Instructional Materials, CIL: 90/91-02

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS

Standards for Evaluation of Instructional Materials with Respect to Social Content, 1986 edition, revised 2001

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education, Curriculum and Instruction: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci

Policy SWEETWATER UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: November 17, 2008 Chula Vista, California