Procedures for Reconsideration of Instructional Media
I. Statement of Policy
Learning resources used in the system’s educational program may be reconsidered on the basis of appropriateness. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinion of those persons in the schools and community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
II. Guiding Principles
A. The Atlanta Public School System supports the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by the American Library Association. When learning resources are challenged; principles of freedom to read, listen, view must be defended as well.
B. Objection to learning resources used in school’s educational program may be raised 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.
C. No parent has the right to determine reading, viewing, or listening matter for students other than his/her own children.
D. Access to challenged materials shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.
E. The major criterion for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.
F. The decision to sustain a challenge shall not necessarily be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the professionals involved in the original selection and/or use of the material.
III. Request for Formal Consideration
The school receiving a complaint regarding a learning resource shall try to resolve the issue formally.
A. The principal or his/her appointee shall listen to the objections, explain the selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the materials, and make a reasonable effort to resolve the issue. No commitment should be given as to the disposition of the challenged material. Challenged materials may not be removed without adhering to the procedure that follows.
B. If the questioner wishes to file a formal challenge; a copy of the system’s Selection of Learning Resources policy, procedure of Reconsideration of Instructional Media, and the form for Request of Reconsideration of Instructional Media shall be handed or mailed to the questioner by the principal.
IV. Request for Formal Consideration
A. The Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Media form shall be signed by the questioner and submitted to the principal within ten school days of the original complaint.
B. The principal shall meet with the local school media committee within twenty school days to consider the request and evaluate the material. The local school media committee shall review the challenged resource and judge whether it conforms to the principles in the selection outlined in the system’s selection of Learning Resources Policy.
C. The Local School Committee Shall
1. Examine the challenged resource in its entirety.
2. Determine professional acceptance by reading critical reviews of the resource.
3. Weigh values and faults, forming opinions based on the materials as a whole rather than on passages or sections taken out of context.
4. Discuss the challenged resource in the context of the educational program.
5. Discuss the challenged item with the individual questioner when appropriate.
6. Prepare a written report.
D. The written report shall be discussed with the individual questioner if requested. The written report shall be retained by the school principal, with copies forwarded to administrative supervisors. A minority report may also be filed. Written reports, once filed, are confidential and available for examination by Board members and appropriate officials only.
E. If the questioner is not satisfied with the decision of the local school media committee, he/she may appeal within ten school days to the Systemwide Media Coordinator. A letter requesting the appeal and a copy of the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Media form completed by the questioner shall be sent to the Systemwide Media Coordinator for review by the Systemwide Media Committee.
F. The Systemwide Media Committee shall follow the same procedure as outlined for the local media committee.
G. If the decision of the Systemwide Media Committee is not acceptable to the questioner, an appeal may be made of the Superintendent of Schools.
H. If the decision of the Superintendent of Schools is not acceptable to the questioner, an appeal may be made to the Board of Education.