PUBLIC COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE CURRICULUM OR
The school committee, though ultimately responsible for all curriculum and instructional materials (including library books), recognizes the need and right of students to free access to many different types of books and materials. It also recognizes the right of the professional staff to select books and other materials supportive of the school system’s educational philosophy and goals.
Criticism of a book or other materials used in the schools may be expected from time to time. In such instances:
- If a parent requests that his own child not read a given book, the teacher and/or school administrator should resolve the situation, perhaps by arranging for use of alternative material meeting essentially the same instructional purpose. This does not apply however, to basic program texts and materials that the committee has adopted.
- The committee will not permit any individual or group to exercise censorship over instructional materials and library collections, but recognizes that at times a reevaluation of certain material may be desirable. Should an individual or group ask to have any book or other material withdrawn from school use:
a) The person who objects to the book or other material will be asked to sign a complaint on a standard form on which he will document his criticism.
b) Following receipt of the formal complaint, the superintendent will provide for a reevaluation of the material in question. He will arrange for the appointment of a review committee from among the faculty to consider the complaint.
c) The superintendent will review the complaint and the committee’s reevaluation and will render a decision in the matter. Should the decision be unsatisfactory to the complainant, he may appeal it to the committee.
In summary, the committee assumes final responsibility for all books and instructional materials it makes available to students; it holds its professional staff accountable for their proper selection. It recognizes rights of individual parents with respect to controversial materials used by their own children; it will provide for the reevaluation of materials in library collections upon formal request. On the other hand, students’ right to learn and the freedom of teachers to teach will be respected.
[Adopted: May 11, 1998]
[Reviewed: April 2003]
[Reviewed: September 2016]
Source: Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc.
603 CMR 26:09 and 26.10
IJ, Instructional Materials
IJJ, Selection and Adoption of Textbooks
IJL, Selection and Adoption of Library Materials