The ultimate authority for the selection and retention of materials for the schools’ media centers rests with the Board of Education which shall serve as a final arbiter in resolving a challenge to any media center materials. Licensed media center personnel shall make the initial selections in consultation with school and district licensed staff. Materials selected shall be in accordance with the guidelines of this policy.
The purpose of the schools’ libraries/media centers is to supplement and enrich the curriculum and instruction offered by the District. Promoting the dialogue characteristic of a healthy democracy necessitates the maintenance of a broad range of materials and information representing varied points of view on current and historical issues. In the selection of the materials and resources to be available in each library/media center consideration will be given to their age appropriateness. Materials should be available to challenge the different interests, learning styles, and reading levels of the school’s students and that will help them attain the District’s educational goals.
The criteria used in the selection of media center materials shall be that the materials:
Media center materials shall be reviewed regularly to ensure the continued appropriateness of the center’s collection to the school’s curriculum and to maintain the collection in good repair. Those materials no longer meeting the selection criteria, have not been used for a long period of time, or are too worn to be economically repaired shall be withdrawn from the collection and disposed of.
Gifts to the media centers shall be evaluated to determine their appropriateness before they are placed in any media center. The evaluation shall use the same criteria as for all other materials considered for inclusion in the media centers. Any items determined to be unacceptable shall be returned to the donor or disposed of at the discretion of the media specialist. The media centers shall have a list of desired items to give to prospective donors to aid them in their selection of materials to donate.
The parent of a student affected by a media selection, or a District employee may formally challenge the appropriateness of a media center selection by following the procedure outlined in this policy. The challenged material shall remain available throughout the challenge process.
Before any formal challenge can be filed, the individual contesting (hereinafter complainant) the appropriateness of the specified item shall request a conference through the principal’s office with a licensed media center employee. The complainant shall be given a copy of this policy and the Request for Formal Reconsideration Form prior to the conference. The meeting shall take place at the earliest possible time of mutual convenience, but in no case later than five (5) working days from the date of the request unless it is by the choice of the complainant.
In the meeting, the media specialist shall explain the selection criteria and how the challenged material fits the criteria. The complainant shall explain his/her reasons for objecting to the selected material. If, at the completion of the meeting, the complainant wishes to make a formal challenge to the selected material, he/she may do so by completing the Request for Formal Reconsideration Form and submitting it to the principal’s office.
To review the contested media, the principal or district level designee shall select a committee of five (5) or seven (7) licensed personnel consisting of the principal as chair and at least one media specialist. The remaining committee members shall be personnel with curriculum knowledge appropriate for the material being contested and representative of diverse viewpoints. The task of the committee shall be to determine if the challenged material meets the criteria of selection. No material shall be withdrawn solely for the viewpoints expressed within it and shall be reviewed in its entirety and not selected portions taken out of context.
The principal shall convene a meeting after a reasonable time for the committee members to adequately review the contested material and the Request for Formal Reconsideration Form submitted by the complainant. The complainant shall be allowed to present the complaint to the committee after which time the committee shall meet privately to discuss the material. The committee shall vote by secret ballot to determine whether the contested material shall be removed from the media center’s collection. A member from the voting majority shall write a summary of the reasons for their decision. A notice of the committee’s decision and the summary shall be given (by hand or certified mail) to the complainant.
If the decision is to not remove the material, the complainant may appeal the committee’s decision to the district Board of Directors by filing a written appeal to the Superintendent within 5 working days of the committee’s decision or of written receipt of the decision. The Superintendent shall present the original complaint and the committee’s decision along with the summary of its reasons for its position plus a recommendation of the administration, if so desired, to the Board within 15 days of the committee’s decision. The Board shall review the material submitted to them by the Superintendent and make a decision within thirty (30) days of receipt of the information. The Board’s decision is final.
Legal Reference: A.C.A. § 6-25-101 et seq.
Last Revised: 12/12/17
Manual Adoption: 2/8/00