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Challenged Materials

Procedures for Dealing with Challenged Materials

I.         Statement of Policy: Any resident or employee of the school district may formally challenge learning resources used in the district’s educational program on the basis of appropriateness. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the schools and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.

II.       Request for Informal Reconsideration

A.       Upon receiving a complaint regarding a learning resource the school shall try to resolve the issue informally.

1.        The library media specialist, principal or other appropriate staff shall explain to the questioner the school’s selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the resource.

2.        The library media specialist, principal or other appropriate staff shall explain the particular place the questioned resource occupies in the education program, its intended educational usefulness, and additional information regarding its use, or refer the party to someone who can identify and explain the use of the resource.

3.        If the questioner wishes to file a formal challenge, a copy of the school Selection of Learning Resources policy and aRequest for Reconsideration of Learning Resources form shall be handed or mailed to the party concerned by the principal.

III.     Request for Formal Reconsideration

A.       Preliminary Procedures

1.        The library media center will keep on hand and make available Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resources forms. All formal objections to learning resources must be made on these forms.

2.        The Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resources form shall be signed by the questioner and filed with the principal or someone so designated by the principal.

3.        The request for reconsideration shall be referred to a reconsideration committee at the school level for reevaluation of the resource.

4.         Requests for reconsideration of materials in district collections shall be referred to the school resource center consultative committee for reevaluation of the resource. This committee may involve additional personnel as appropriate.


B.       The Reconsideration Committee

1.        Upon receipt of a request for formal reconsideration of a learning resource, the principal shall:

a.         Appoint a reconsideration committee including the following membership as appropriate:

                The library media specialist;

                                                                One member of the staff chosen by the principal;

                                                                One member of the teaching staff chosen by the school staff;

                                                                One member of the PTC chosen by the PTC;

                                                                Two students chosen by the student body.

b.        Name a convener of the reconsideration committee.

c.         Arrange for a reconsideration committee meeting within 10 working days after the complaint is received.

2.        The reconsideration committee may choose to consult the Academy of Educational Development support staff and/or community persons with related professional knowledge.

3.         The reconsideration committee shall review the challenged resource and judge whether it conforms to the principles of selection outlined in the district’s Selection of Learning Resources policy.


C.       Resolution

1.        The reconsideration committee shall:

a.         Examine the challenged resource and read it in its entirety;

b.        Determine professional acceptance by reading critical reviews of the resource;

c.         Weigh values and faults and form opinions based on the material as a whole rather than on passages or sections taken out of context;

d.        Discuss the challenged resource in the context of the educational program;

e.         Discuss the challenged item with the individual questioner when appropriate;

f.         Prepare a written report.

2.        The written report shall be discussed with the individual questioner if requested.

3.        The written report shall be retained by the library media specialist, with copies forwarded to the school principal and vice principal. A minority report also may be filed.

4.        Written reports, once filed, are confidential and available for examination by board members and appropriate officials only.

5.        The decision of the reconsideration committee is binding for the school.

D.       Guiding Principles

1.        Any resident or employee of the school district may raise objection to learning resources used in a school’s educational program, despite the fact that the individuals selecting such resources were duly qualified to make the selection, followed the proper procedure, and observed the criteria for selecting learning resources.

2.        The principal should review the selection and objection rules with the teaching staff at least annually. The staff should be reminded that the right to object to learning resources is one granted by policies enacted by the school administration.

3.        No parent has the right to determine reading, viewing, or listening matter for students other than his or her own children.

4.        Cypress Hills Community School supports the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by the American Library Association. (A copy of the Library Bill of Rights is attached to this policy.) When learning resources are challenged, the principles of the freedom to read/listen/view must be defended as well.

5.        Access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.

6.        The major criterion for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.

7.        A decision to sustain a challenge shall not necessarily be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility by the professionals involved in the original selection and/or use of the material.