627 – Instructional Materials: Selection, Inspection, And Reconsideration

Definition. The term “instructional materials” shall include printed materials and multi-media materials, and shall include materials used in the classroom and available in the libraries.

Selection and Inspection.

Persons Involved. The selection of instructional materials shall be delegated to the licensed instructional staff, under the supervision of the administrative staff. Parents, students, other staff and community members may be asked to serve on selection committees. Responsibility for coordinating the selection of text materials will rest with the curriculum committee. The Board retains the right to approve all textbooks after receiving a recommendation from the Superintendent. Material purchased for school libraries shall be recommended for purchase by the licensed professional personnel of the library in consultation with administrative staff and instructional staff. All material recommended shall be approved by the building administrator.

Criteria. In selecting instructional materials, the following criteria should be considered:

a. Instructional materials should support the educational philosophy, goals and objectives of the District and the objectives of the curricular offering in which the materials will be used.
b. Instructional materials should be appropriate for the age, emotional and social development, and ability level of the students for whom the materials are selected.
c. Instructional materials should be diverse with respect to levels of difficulty, reader appeal, and should present a variety of points of view.
d. Instructional materials should meet high standards of quality in factual content and presentation.
e. Instructional materials should have aesthetic, cultural, literary, or social value. The value and impact of any literary work will be judged as a whole, taking into account the author’s intent rather than individual words, phrases or incidents.
f. Instructional materials should foster respect for men, women, the disabled, and minority groups and should portray a variety of roles and life styles open to people in today’s world. Instructional materials should foster respect for cultural diversity.
g. Instructional materials should be designed to motivate students to examine their own attitudes and behaviors and to comprehend their own duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges as participating citizens in a pluralistic society.
h. Instructional materials should encourage students to utilize higher order thinking skills and to become informed decision-makers, to exercise freedom of thought and to make independent judgments through examination and evaluation of relevant information, evidence and differing viewpoints.
i. Instructional materials should be selected taking into account instructional materials already available in the District in order to meet the above criteria and in order to replace materials worn, obsolete or no longer appropriate. Licensed professional staff shall provide for constant and continuing renewal of the collection not only by the addition of up-to-date material, but by the judicious elimination of materials which no longer meet needs or find use.
j. Other criteria as developed by the licensed staff under the supervision of the administrative staff.

Inspection. Persons may request to view instructional materials used in the District by filing a request with the building principal. All instructional materials, including teachers’ manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with instruction on human growth and development or which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any federally-funded program must be available for inspection by parents. The instructional materials will be viewed on District premises unless other arrangements are made with the approval of the Superintendent.

Reconsideration of Instructional Material.

Persons. Any student, parent or guardian, licensed staff member, or resident may raise an objection to or ask for reconsideration of instructional materials or the manner in which they are being used by using the following procedures.


a. The person shall first meet with the licensed staff member who is using the instructional material in an attempt to resolve the matter informally. The licensed staff member shall notify the building principal that a request for reconsideration has been made. The licensed staff member may attempt to resolve the matter by offering alternative instructional materials to a student if the student or student’s parent or guardian files the request.
b. In the event the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the person requesting reconsideration must submit to the building principal a formal written request for reconsideration on a form provided by the building principal.
c. The building principal shall appoint a temporary review committee to review the request for reconsideration. The review committee shall be comprised of an administrator (not from the building) as chairperson, a teacher-librarian (if the objection or request is made to instructional material available in the library, the teacher-librarian shall be from a different building), two teachers, including one member, if possible, from the department where the materials are being used (but shall not include the teacher who held the informal meeting), two residents of the District, and two secondary students.
d. Within thirty (30) days of the filing of the written request for reconsideration, the review committee shall meet in open session with the person requesting reconsideration and the licensed staff member who held the informal meeting and any other person the review committee shall request to attend. Prior to said meeting, the review committee shall review the instructional material.
e. Following the meeting with the person requesting reconsideration and the licensed staff member, the review committee shall deliberate and shall prepare a recommendation to the building principal. The recommendation shall be in writing and shall be delivered (by personal delivery or by mail) within fifteen (15) days of the deliberation to the building principal, the person requesting reconsideration, and to the licensed staff member.
f. The review committee may recommend that:

i. the instructional material be retained and used as planned; or
ii. all or part of the instructional material be withdrawn; or
iii. all or part of the instructional material be limited in its use; or
iv. a different method of presentation of the instructional material be utilized.

g. The building principal, within ten days of receipt of the recommendation, shall issue a written decision on the request for reconsideration and shall deliver (by personal delivery or by mail) a copy of the decision to the person requesting reconsideration, to the licensed staff member who held the informal meeting, to the chair of the review committee, and to the Superintendent for transmittal to the Board of Directors. The principal may adopt, reverse or modify the decision of the review committee. The objector or licensed staff member may appeal the decision pursuant to Board policy 229 starting with the Superintendent.

Withdrawal. Instructional materials shall not be removed or withdrawn from use during the pendency of the review process except upon three-fourths vote of the entire membership of the review committee and approval of the building principal, who shall state compelling reasons in writing for such action. The review committee may recommend that a particular student or group of students be provided alternative instructional materials during the pendency of the review upon a majority vote of the entire membership of the review committee.

Criterion. The sole criterion for decisions shall be the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.

Elimination and Replacement of Instructional Materials. The District shall provide for the regular “culling” and elimination of instructional materials (both classroom and library materials). The teacher-librarian may remove library materials which are no longer important for meeting District goals and curriculum objectives. The advice of instructional personnel, students and community members may be sought. No materials shall be withdrawn or discarded merely because they contain controversial opinions. Infrequently used materials should be retained if they contribute to the excellence of the collection as a whole. Classroom instructional materials may be removed from inventory when they are no longer important to the instructional program, following general selection and replacement guidelines.

Copyrights. Copyrighted materials, whether they are print or nonprint, will not be duplicated unless such reproduction meets “fair use” standards or unless written permission from the copyright holder has been received. The Board does not sanction illegal duplication in any form. The four criteria for evaluating “fair use” are:

a. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
b. The nature of the copyrighted work;
c. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
d. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the work.

Details about “fair use” will be made available to all staff.

Date of Revision: February 6, 2012

Legal References: Pub. L. No. 103-227, 108 Stat. 125 (1994); 279.8 279.50, 280.3, 280.6, 280.14, Chapter 301, Code of Iowa; 281 I.A.C. 12.5(8), 12.5(16)


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