Amend HCS Board Policy 3210: Parental Inspection of and Objection to Instructional Materials

Haywood County Schools Board of Education

Join the citizens and educators of Haywood County in asking the Board of Education to continue making Haywood County Schools the best place to learn and to teach. By signing the petition below, you are supporting the amendments made (Section C below) to Board Policy 3210--Parental Inspection of and Objection to Instructional Materials. We are asking the board to ensure that there is an equitable process when materials are considered for review. By supporting the amendments made to this policy we can ensure that Haywood County children continue to receive a well-rounded education. We ask the board to approve these amendments and to continue to support teacher professionalism and student learning.

Please read the petition below and complete the attached form to sign. You may choose to sign anonymously, which means that only the Haywood County Association of Educators board will see your information:

To: Haywood County Schools Board of Education
From: [Your Name]

We, Haywood County Schools staff, students, parents, and supporters, call on the HCS Board of Education to amend Board Policy 3210: Parental Inspection of and Objection to Instructional Materials. Section C below are the proposed changes we ask for.

In policy 3200, Selection of Instructional Materials, the Haywood County Board of Education establishes a process for the selection of instructional materials to meet the State Board of Education requirements and the educational goals of the board. That process provides an opportunity for parental input in the selection of materials.
The board recognizes that despite the opportunity to participate in the selection of materials, parents still may have concerns about instructional materials used in the school system. Thus, to further involve parents in the education of their children, the board also provides opportunities for parents to review instructional materials and a process for parents to use when they object to instructional materials.

A. Parental Right to Inspect Materials

Parents have a right under federal law to inspect all instructional materials which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable federally funded programs. Parents ordinarily also may review all other instructional materials following procedures provided by the school or superintendent. The term “instructional materials” does not include academic tests or assessments. Some materials available through the Internet and used in individual classes provide up-to-date information or information on current events may not be available for advance review; however, all materials used in reproductive health and safety education shall be available for review as provided in policy 3540, Comprehensive Health Education Program.

B. Parental Objection to Materials

Parents and or guardians of a currently enrolled student may submit an objection by completing Haywood County Schools Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Form in writing to the principal regarding the use of particular instructional materials. The principal shall follow the procedures established in Section C. While input from the community may be sought, the board believes professional educators are in the best position to determine whether a particular instructional material is appropriate for the age and maturity of the students and for the subject matter being taught.

Before any instructional material is removed, the principal shall convene a committee and participate to ensure that the curriculum is still aligned with the current state-wide instructional standards and articulated from grade to grade. The committee shall include one (1) media specialist, three (3) teachers in the subject area, two (2) administrators, and two (2) students on academic level for the book in question. Books and other instructional materials may be removed from the school media collection only for legitimate educational reasons and subject to the limitations of the First Amendment.

C. Procedures for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources

Occasional objections to some resources may be voiced by the public despite the care taken in the selection process and despite the qualifications of persons selecting the resources. If a complaint is made on a material other than a state adopted text, the procedures are as follows:

1. The principal shall inform the complainant of the selection procedures and request that the complainant file his/her objections in writing by completing the Haywood County Schools Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Form. The complaint shall be forwarded to the school’s Media/Technology Advisory Committee (“Building Level Committee”). The Committee shall consist of at least the following individuals:(1) media specialist (3) educators in related fields and (2) administrators (2) students.

2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Building Level Committee shall conduct the following review:
● Examine the item and the objection;
● Survey reviews of the item in professional reviewing sources when possible;
● Determine the extent to which the item supports the curriculum, weigh the merits against the alleged weaknesses and consider the whole item instead of isolated passages;
● Discuss the item and prepare a written report of the findings and determination;
● Send copies of the report to the school principal and complainant; and
● The report shall be issued no more than twenty (20) school days from the time the written objection is filed with the principal to the parent.

3. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Building Level Committee’s determination, the complainant may appeal to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall convene a new committee that consists of one (1) media specialist, three (3) teachers in the subject area, two (2) administrators, and two (2) students on academic level for the book in question

4. If disagreement continues, the parent may appeal to the Board of Education in writing by completing the Haywood County Schools Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Form. Following the steps outlined in Section Two, the Community Media/Technology Advisory Committee (“Community Committee”) will re-examine all documentation from the Building Level Committee and conduct any further investigation as it deems appropriate. Within fifteen (15) school days following receipt of the complainant’s appeal, or unless additional time is needed based on further investigation, the Community Committee will prepare a written report of its findings and recommendation and report directly to the Board of Education.

5. The Board of Education shall review the Community Committee’s report and conduct any further investigations as it deems appropriate. The Board of Education shall make a final determination within twenty (20) business days after receiving the Community Committee’s written report.

6. Unless otherwise stated by the Board of Education, determinations regarding challenged instructional material shall be limited to the individual school and not across the entire school system.

7. No instructional materials shall be removed from the classroom or media collection until the entire appeal procedure is completed.

Legal References: U.S. Const. Amend. I; 20 U.S.C. 1232h; N.C. Const. Art. I, § 14; Board pf Educ. v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982); G.S. 115C-45, -47. -81, -98, -101