Code No. 605.3 Objection to Instructional Materials

Members of the school district community may object to the instructional materials utilized in the school district and ask for their use to be reconsidered.


Approved:  October 19, 1998

Revised/Reviewed: September 29, 2015

Code No. 605.3R1 Objection to and Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Regulation

  1. Objection
    1. A resident of the school district may raise an objection to instructional materials used in the school district’s education program despite the fact that the individuals selecting such material were duly qualified to make the selection and followed the proper procedure and observed the criteria for selecting such material.
      1. The school official or employee receiving a complaint regarding instructional materials shall try to resolve the issue informally.  The materials shall remain in use pending the outcome of the reconsideration procedure.
        1. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint, shall explain to the individual the board’s selection procedure, criteria to be met by the instructional materials, and qualifications of those persons selecting the material.
        2. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint shall explain to the individual the role of the objected material in the education program, its intended educational purpose, and additional information regarding its use.  In the alternative, the employee may refer the individual to the media specialist who can identify and explain the use of the material.
      2. The employee receiving the initial complaint shall advise the building principal of the initial contact no later than the end of the school day following the discussion with the individual, whether or not the individual has been satisfied by the initial contact.  A written record of the contact shall be maintained by the principal in charge of the attendance center.  Each building principal shall inform employees of their obligation to report complaints.
      3. In the event the individual making an objection to instructional materials is not satisfied with the initial explanation, the individual shall be referred to the principal or to the media specialist of the attendance center.  If, after consultation with the principal or media specialist, the individual desires to file a formal complaint, the principal or media specialist will assist in filling out a Reconsideration Request Form in full and filing it with the superintendent.
  2. Request for Reconsideration
    1. A resident of the school district may formally challenge instructional materials on the basis of appropriateness used in the school district’s education program.  This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the school district and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
    2. Each attendance center and the school district’s central administrative office will keep on hand and make available Reconsideration Request Forms.  Formal objections to instructional materials must be made on this form.
    3. The individual shall state the specific reason the instructional material is being challenged.  The Reconsideration Request Form shall be signed by the individual and filed with the superintendent.
    4. The superintendent shall promptly file the objection with the reconsideration committee for re-evaluation.
    5. Generally, access to challenged instructional material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.  However, in unusual circumstances, the instructional material may be removed temporarily by following the provisions of Section B.6.d. of this rule.
    6. The Reconsideration Committee
      1. The reconsideration committee shall be made up of eight members.
        1. One licensed employee designated annually by the superintendent.
        2. One media specialist designated annually by the superintendent.
        3. One member of the administrative team designated annually by the superintendent.
        4. Three members of the community appointed annually by the board.
        5. Two high school students, selected annually by the high school principal.
      2. The committee shall annually select their chairperson and secretary.
      3. The committee shall meet at the request of the superintendent.
      4. Special meetings may be called by the board to consider temporary removal of materials in unusual circumstances.  Temporary removal shall require a two-thirds vote of the committee.
      5. Notice of committee meetings shall be made public through appropriate publications and other communications methods.
      6. The committee shall receive the completed Reconsideration Request Form from the superintendent.
      7. The committee shall determine its agenda for the first meeting which may include the following:
        1. Distribution of copies of the completed Reconsideration Request Form.
        2. An opportunity for the individual or a group spokesperson to talk about or expand on the Reconsideration Request Form.
        3. Distribution of reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the challenged instructional material if available.
        4. Distribution of copies of the challenged instructional material as available.
      8. The committee may review the selection process for the challenged instructional material and may, to its satisfaction, determine that the challenge is without merit and dismiss the challenge.  The committee will notify the individual and the superintendent of its action.
      9. At a subsequent meeting, if held, interested persons, including the individual filing the challenge, may have the opportunity to share their views.  The committee may request that individuals with special knowledge be present to give information to the committee.
      10. The individual filing the challenge shall be kept informed by the reconsideration committee secretary on the status of the Reconsideration Request Form throughout the reconsideration process.  The individual filing the challenge and known interested parties shall be given appropriate notice of meetings.
      11. At the second or a subsequent meeting the committee will make its final recommendation.  The committee’s final recommendation may be to take no removal action, to remove the challenged material from the school environment, or to limit the educational use of the challenged material. 

The sole criterion for the final recommendation is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.The written final recommendation and its justification shall be forwarded to the board, the individual and the appropriate attendance centers.The superintendent may also make a recommendation but if so, it should be independent from the committee’s.

Following the board’s decision with respect to the committee’s recommendation, the individual or the chairperson of the reconsideration committee may appeal the decision to the board for review.Such appeal must be presented to the superintendent in writing within five days following the announcement of the superintendent’s decision.The board will promptly determine whether to hear the appeal.

  1. A recommendation to sustain a challenge shall not be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the individuals involved in the original selection or use of the material.
  2. Requests to reconsider materials which have previously been reconsidered by the committee must receive approval of two-thirds of the committee members before the materials will again be reconsidered.  Completed and filed Reconsideration Request Forms shall be acted upon by the committee.
  3. If necessary or appropriate in the judgment of the committee, the committee may appoint a subcommittee of members or nonmembers to consolidate challenges and to make recommendations to the full committee.  The composition of this subcommittee shall approximate the representation of the full committee.
  4. Committee members directly associated with the selection, use, or challenger of the challenged material shall be excused from the committee during the deliberation of the challenged instructional materials.  The superintendent may appoint a temporary replacement for the excused committee member, but the replacement shall be of the same general qualifications as the member excused.
  5. Persons dissatisfied with the decision of the board may appeal to the Iowa Board of Education pursuant to state law


Approved:  October 19, 1998

Revised/Reviewed:  September 29, 2015

Code No. 605.3E1 Instructions to the Reconsideration Committee

The policy of this school district related to selection of learning materials states that any resident of the district may formally challenge instructional materials used in the district’s education program.  This policy allows those persons in the school and the community who are not directly involved in the selection of materials to make their own opinions known.  The task of the reconsideration committee is to provide an open forum for discussion of challenged materials and to make an informed recommendation on the challenge.  The meetings of the committee may be subject to the open meetings law.

The most critical component of the reconsideration process is the establishment and maintenance of the committee’s credibility in the community.  For this purpose, the committee is composed of community members.  The community should not, therefore, infer that the Committee is biased or is obligated to uphold prior professional decisions.  For this same reason, a community member will be selected to chair the committee.

The reconsideration process, the task of this committee, is just one part of the selection continuum.  Material is purchased to meet a need.  It is reviewed and examined, if possible, prior to purchase.  It is periodically re-evaluated through updating, discarding, or re-examination.  The committee must be ready to acknowledge that an error in selection may have been made despite this process.  Librarians and school employees regularly read great numbers of reviews in the selection process, and occasional errors are possible.

In reconsidering challenged materials, the role of the committee, and particularly the chairperson, is to produce a climate for disagreement.  However, the committee should begin by finding items of agreement, keeping in mind that the larger the group participating, the greater the amount of information available and, therefore, the greater the number of possible approaches to the problem.

If the complainant chooses, the complainant may make an oral presentation to the committee to expand and elaborate on the complaint.  The committee will listen to the complaint, to those with special knowledge, and any other interested persons.  In these discussions, the committee should be aware of relevant social pressures which are affecting the situation.  Individuals who may try to dominate or impose a decision must not be allowed to do so.  Minority viewpoints expressed by groups or individuals must be heard, and observers must be made to feel welcome.  It is important that the committee create a calm, nonvolatile environment in which to deal with a potentially volatile situation.  To this end, the complainant will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint.

The committee will listen to the views of all interested persons before making recommendations.  In deliberating its recommendation, the committee should remember that the school system must be responsive to the needs, tastes, and opinions of the community it serves. 

Therefore, the committee must distinguish between broad community sentiment and attempts to impose personal standards.  The deliberations should concentrate on the appropriateness of the material.  The question to be answered by the committee is, “Is the material appropriate for its designated audience at this time?”

The committee’s final recommendation will be (1) to remove the challenged material from the total school environment, (2) to take no removal action, or (3) to agree on a limitation of the educational use of the materials.

The committee chairperson will instruct the secretary to convey the committee’s recommendation to the office of the superintendent.  The recommendation should detail the rationale on which it was based.  A letter will be sent to the complainant outlining the outcome.


Approved:  October 19, 1998

Revised/Reviewed: September 29, 2015

Code No. 605.3E2 Reconsideration Request Form

Request for re-evaluation of instructional material to be submitted to the superintendent.

REVIEW INITIATED BY:                                                          DATE:_______________ ____

Name ________________________________________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________________

City/State  __________________________  Zip Code  ___________ Telephone ___________

 School(s) in which item is used ___________________________________________________

Relationship to school (parent, student, citizen, etc.)  __________________________________


Author _____________________________  Hardcover _____  Paperback ______ Other ______

Title  _________________________________________________________________________

Publisher (if known) ____________________________________________________________

Date of Publication _____________________________________________________________


Title  _________________________________________________________________________

Producer (if known) _____________________________________________________________

Type of material (filmstrip, motion picture, etc.) ______________________________________


Self                  Group or Organization

Name of Group or Organization  _______________________________________

Address of Group or Organization ______________________________________

1.         What brought this item to your attention?



2.         To what in the item do you object?  (please be specific; cite pages, or frames, etc.)



3.         In your opinion, what harmful effects upon students might result from use of this item?



4.         Do you perceive any instructional value in the use of this item?



 5.        Did you review the entire item?  If not, what sections did you review?



6.         Should the opinion of any additional experts in the field be considered?

Yes _______________                       No ______________

If yes, please list specific suggestions: ________________________________________


7.         To replace this item, do you recommend other material which you consider to be of equal or superior quality for the purpose intended?



8.         Do you wish to make an oral presentation to the Review Committee?

Yes _______________           (a) Please contact the Superintendent

(b) Please be prepared at this time to indicate the approximate length of time your presentation will require.  Although this is no guarantee that you'll be allowed to present to the committee, or that you will get your requested amount of time.

Minutes. __________________________

            No  _______________


__________________________________________            ________________________

Signature                                                                                 Dated


Approved:  October 19, 1998

Revised/Reviewed: September 29, 2015

Code No. 605.3E3 Sample Letter to Individual Challenging Instructional Materials


We recognize your concern about the use of __________________________________________

in our school district.  The school district has developed procedures for selection of instructional materials but realizes that not everyone will agree with every selection made.

To help you understand the selection process, we are sending copies of the school district’s:

            1.         Instructional goals and objectives,

            2.         Selection of Instructional Materials policy statement, and

            3.         Procedure for reconsideration of instructional materials.

If you are still concerned after you review this material, please complete the Reconsideration Request Form and return it to me.  You may be assured of prompt attention to your request.  If I have not heard from you within one week, we will assume you no longer wish to file a formal complaint.




Approved:  October 19, 1998

Revised/Reviewed: September 29, 2015