|Otsego Public Schools|
|Bylaws & Policies|
2240 - CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
The Board of Education believes that the consideration of controversial issues has a legitimate place in the instructional program of the schools.
Properly introduced and conducted, and when age/grade level appropriate, the consideration of such issues can help students learn to identify important issues, explore fully and fairly all sides of an issue, weigh carefully the values and factors involved, and develop techniques for formulating and evaluating positions.
For purposes of this policy, a controversial issue is a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion, likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community, and not expressly enumerated in a curriculum guide and/or course of study.
The Board will permit the introduction and proper educational use of controversial issues provided that their use in the instructional program:
|A.||is related to the instructional goals of the course of study and level of maturity of the students;|
|B.||does not tend to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view;|
|C.||encourages fair presentation and open-mindedness;|
|D.||is conducted in a spirit of scholarly inquiry.|
Controversial issues related to the program may be initiated by the students themselves provided they are presented in the ordinary course of classroom instruction and it is not substantially disruptive to the educational setting. Controversial issues may not be initiated by a source outside the schools unless prior approval has been given by the appropriate building administrator.
When controversial issues have not been specified in the course of study, the Board will permit the instructional use of only those issues which have been approved by the Superintendent and have been approved by the principal.
The Board recognizes that some deviation from the assigned curriculum guide is necessary in the free exchange of the classroom. However, the Board specifies, for the guidance of the Superintendent and, through administrative directive, the guidance of the staff, that any discussion of controversial issues in the classroom shall be conducted in an unprejudiced and dispassionate manner and shall not disrupt the educational process, fail to match the maturity level of students, be unrelated to the goals of the Board and the appropriate course of study, and tend toward the doctrinaire.
In the discussion of any issue, a teacher may express a personal opinion, but shall identify it as such, and must not express such an opinion for the purpose of persuading students to his/her point of view.
The Superintendent shall develop administrative guidelines for dealing with controversial issues.