BERRIVILLE – Clark County public schools intend to restrict who can object to educational materials, although they have not recently received such complaints.
The amended policy on “Disposal of Materials from Use” adopted by the Clark School Board in the first reading on Monday night includes a condition that only parents and guardians of students in the school department can file such complaints.
At the same time, the policy states, “it is recognized that sometimes objections to materials are submitted by the community. Therefore, school councils provide channels of communication and fair procedures to express and address concerns about educational resources, including teaching materials. will be used in the teaching of the curriculum ”.
The changes do not apply to textbooks, but to “additional materials” and materials available in school libraries and media centers. Objections to textbooks are considered only when real errors are identified, which may make them unsuitable for educational purposes, the policy said.
CCPS inspector Chuck Bishop said that during his nearly eight years of work, there were no formal problems with any of the teaching materials used in schools.
“Our librarians and teachers do a really good job of testing the materials to make sure they don’t contain inappropriate content,” Bishop said.
He said the librarians proposed the reform based on suggestions and guidance from the American School Librarians Association and the American Library Association.
Under the reform, parents or guardians can request that materials used in their children’s education or that their children have access to be reviewed.
“Parents or guardians are directly affected by the materials their children have access to during the school day,” Bishop said. In contrast, “the general public is often not directly involved in our classrooms and the context in which specific materials are relevant to the learning objectives.”
The amended rules set out the measures that parents and guardians should use to hear their complaints. They first go through the school principal. If the director does not resolve the complaint satisfactorily, they may refer it to a committee appointed by the director. The committee will consist of the school administration, two teachers who will teach the questionnaire, the school librarian and two other parents or guardians who have children in the school. If inappropriate materials are used at Clark County High School, the student will also be assigned to the committee.
If the committee does not reassure them, the complainant’s parents or guardians may appeal to another departmental committee appointed by the supervisor. This committee will have a similar composition.
If the objections remain unresolved after hearing that committee, the school council will be the final level of appeal.
Before hearing any complaint, the protesting parent or guardian must fill out a form and answer questions, including:
• Have you read, seen, or listened to the entire material? (If they answer “yes,” they should sum it up.)
• What material do you particularly object to?
• What do you think might be the consequences of the student’s use of this material?
• How did this material be evaluated by others who read / looked / listened to it (especially teachers or professional book reviewers)? Please cite the names or sources of the reviewers / data.
The form is similar to the one already developed for use in case of need.
Also in the first reading, amendments were made to the school department’s policy on how to select libraries and media centers.
“The materials our students use are funded by taxpayers,” Bishop said. “We want to remember how and when we’re throwing stuff.”
Materials may be discarded if they have been replaced with new or corrected information; be biased or present content in a stereotypical way; become obsolete due to interesting formats, designs, graphics and images; or they are difficult to use, such as having indexes or table of contents, indicates an adjusted policy.
Copyright dates can be taken into account, but the decision to revoke something should not be based solely on the date, the policy statement said.
“Some of the old materials may be considered classics or may have historical value for the collection,” he adds.
The bishop said the amendments, such as the amendment to the objection to the material, were in line with the recommendations of the library’s professional organizations.
The votes of the School Council for the adoption of policy reforms in the first reading were unanimous and there was no discussion. As a result, the edits are likely to be adopted in a second reading, which will formalize them – at the next board meeting on April 25th.