304R-C - Steps For Reconsideration of Educational Materials

The parent or legal guardian of a child enrolled in Frederick County Public Schools may request review of material(s) used in the instruction of that child or accessible to that child. Outlined below is the two-tiered reconsideration procedure and process for review of material(s).
  1. Individual School Level Recommendation

    1. If an objection to a selection of instructional material(s) is made, the parent or legal guardian will be informed of this procedure and directed to the principal.  If a request for reconsideration is received by central office staff, the parent or legal guardian will be advised to meet with the principal of the school the child attends.
       
    2. The parent or legal guardian must submit his concerns in writing on the form provided by the school division (Request for Reconsideration of Educational Materials, appended to this regulation). The reconsideration process will not proceed unless the written form is completed and submitted.
       
    3. The principal will meet with the parent or legal guardian to discuss the request.

    4. After the parent or legal guardian has met with the principal and the written request for reconsideration has been submitted, the principal will appoint a committee of staff and patrons to review the challenged materials to determine their appropriateness to the curriculum, to the psychological well-being of students, and to standards of civility and decency. The committee should be balanced with school staff and parents/guardians. Selected parents or guardians should reside in the school community and be impartial.
       
    5. After the school principal has selected the school review committee, members of the committee should receive in advance of the committee meeting date, a copy of the parent’s reconsideration request form, a copy of the selection policy for educational materials or textbook selections, any book reviews or recommendations from professional selection aids, copies of the material in question for their perusal, and any other pertinent information. The committee shall:

      1. Read the entire book, view or listen to the material in its entirety.

      2. Check general acceptance of the material by reading reviews, consulting authoritative lists and the holdings of other media centers (when appropriate).

      3. Weigh strengths and faults against each other and form opinions based on the materials as a whole and not on passages pulled out of context.

    6. The principal chairs the meeting of the committee. Only the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) who filed the reconsideration request form will be invited to appear before the committee to address their concerns about the material. The parent/guardian(s)’s appearance provides for elaboration regarding the concerns stated on the Request for Reconsideration Form and an opportunity for committee members to seek clarification. The committee shall make a recommendation to the superintendent or designee concerning the disposition of the challenged material.

    7. The principal is responsible for reporting the recommendation of the committee to the superintendent or designee. The report of the committee’s action shall be submitted to the superintendent or designee within five (5) working days of the meeting. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) requesting reconsideration of the material will be notified of the recommendation by the principal both orally and in writing.  The written report is a consensus report that does not identify, by name, any committee member’s individual comments or feelings on the material in question. A vote will be taken on the recommended action, but the vote remains private. Only the vote count is to be disclosed in the report.

  2. Division Level Review

    1. To appeal the decision of the school level committee, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) who submitted the request must file with the superintendent or designee an appeal, in writing, within ten (10) working days after receipt of the principal’s decision. The superintendent’s designee shall be the assistant superintendent for instruction, unless otherwise designated.

    2. The superintendent’s designee will appoint a committee at the division level to review the material(s).  Appointment of the division review committee will occur within ten (10) working days of receipt of written appeal.

    3. The division review committee will be composed of school personnel and parents or legal guardians of students enrolled in Frederick County Public Schools.  School principals will be asked to recommend individuals to serve on the division review committee.  Care should be given to select parents or legal guardians who are viewed as impartial but who demonstrate care regarding instructional matters in Frederick County Public Schools.

    4. The assistant superintendent for instruction or designee will chair the division review committee.  The committee shall meet to consider the challenged materials within thirty (30) days after its appointment.

    5. The committee’s task is to make a written recommendation to the School Board regarding the material(s) in question. The committee’s recommendation will be to retain, retain with restrictions, modify or remove the challenged material(s).

    6. The committee members shall:

      1. Read the entire text, or view or listen to audio-visual material in its entirety;

      2. Assess the general acceptance of the material(s) by reading reviews, consulting authoritative lists and researching holdings of other media centers if appropriate; and

      3. Weigh the strengths and faults of the material(s) and form opinions based upon the material(s) as a whole.

    7. The assistant superintendent of instruction or designee, serving as chairperson, shall prepare a written report.  The written report will state the committee’s recommendation, the vote count of the committee members and the factors (and references) considered in making the recommendation.  The report will not identify by name any committee member’s individual vote, comments or opinions regarding the material(s). The report will be provided to the Superintendent and to the parent or legal guardian who submitted the Request within ten (10) working days of the committee’s vote on the material(s).

    8. The superintendent or designee will submit the division review committee’s report to the Instructional Committee of the School Board for consideration.  The Instructional Committee shall consider the division review committee report and then forward to the School Board with a recommendation for approval, denial or approval with modification(s). Material(s) under reconsideration will be retained, retained with restrictions, modified, or withdrawn as determined by the School Board. The School Board’s decision will specify the grade levels and schools affected by its decision.  Action by the School Board is final and completes the procedure.

Legal Reference(s):
Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended Section(s) 22.1-253.13:7.C.2

8VAC 20-720-160


Cross Reference(s):
Regulation 304R-C-Appendix: Request for Reconsideration of Educational Materials
 

Adopted: May 23, 2000
Amended: January 30, 2002
Amended: December 8, 2010
Amended: October 29, 2015
Amended: July 3, 2018
Amended: September 12, 2018