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605.05 Objection to Library Materials

Students and/or parents of students enrolled in the Ankeny Community School District may object to materials located in the district’s media center(s). The superintendent/designee shall establish administrative regulations for reconsideration of media center materials.

R.R. for Policy #605.05
The procedure for handling reconsideration of challenged media center material in response to questions concerning the appropriateness is as follows:

  1. The relevant staff member will hold an informal meeting with the complainant via phone, web conference, and/or in person to hear the complainant’s concerns, inform the complainant of the selection procedure and the relevant board policies, provide information on the purpose and context for the use of the materials, and attempt to resolve the situation informally. If the challenged item is an item in a district media center collection, a librarian and/or principal from the attendance center attended by the complainant’s child(ren) shall be the staff member charged with holding this initial, informal conversation with the complainant.

2. If step 1 does not resolve the complainant’s concern the complainant shall, within one week of the informal meeting outlined in step 1, notify the relevant building principal in writing that the concern remains and that further consideration is needed.

3. Within two calendar weeks of receiving notice of ongoing concerns from the complainant, the superintendent/designee shall convene a committee of the district’s teacher librarians to conduct a preliminary review of the challenged material and to determine next steps. The principal shall not share the name of the complaining parent and/or student with the committee and shall instruct the committee on maintaining confidentiality with regard to the review. The committee may decide the material has merit and should remain in the library or they may determine that a modification to the district’s media collection should be made. The committee shall communicate their decision, rationale, and information about the formal Reconsideration Process to the complainant in writing within three weeks of receiving notice of the desire for further review from the complainant.

4. The complainant may appeal the teacher librarian committee’s decision by filing a formal reconsideration request by filling out the form in Board Policy 605.05F and submitting it to the relevant building principal. This form shall be filed as directed within two calendar weeks of receiving the decision of the librarian committee.

5. Upon receipt of a Reconsideration Request Form, the following process for Objections to Media Center Materials shall commence:

    1. Within three calendar days of the receipt of the Reconsideration Request Form, the relevant principal will contact the Chief Academic Officer to arrange for appointment of an ad hoc committee (“Review Committee”) to review the challenged material. The Chief Academic Officer/designee shall appoint members of the Review Committee within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the written complaint and, to the greatest extent possible, will be comprised of the following:
      • One principal and/or assistant and/or associate principal other than the principal to whom the complaint was reported
      • Two elementary school teacher librarians and/or digital literacy teachers
      • Two secondary school teacher librarians
      • Three parents/guardians of students in the building where the challenge was raised
      • Two high school (10th – 12th grade) secondary students whose parents have given written consent for their children to participate on the Review Committee for the item in question. To support objectivity in the review process, these students will be selected to serve on the Review Committee at the start of the year, regardless of whether any challenges have been raised. Parent permission for participation on the committee will be sought each time a review is requested. The names of the students serving on the committee shall not be released publicly in order to protect the student’s confidentiality.
      • The Chief Academic Officer/designee will facilitate the committee.

The principal may share the name of the complaining parent and/or student with the Chief Academic Officer, but neither the principal nor the Chief Academic Officer shall share that information with the
committee. The Chief Academic Officer/designee facilitating the committee shall instruct the committee on maintaining confidentiality with regard to the review.

The complainant may present to the Review Committee (if requested), but shall not be a member of the committee. If the complainant elects to present to the Review Committee, it shall be understood that the committee will not be able to keep the Complainant’s identity anonymous.

The Chief Academic Officer/designee shall provide the parents/guardians of the students asked to serve on the Review Committee with information including but not limited to the following: the name/title of the challenged material, the basis for the challenge, and the expectations for participants on the Review Committee. The Chief Academic Officer/designee shall not reveal the name of the student and/or parent making the challenge to the parents/guardians when inviting the child to serve.

The Chief Academic Officer/designee shall also inform the parents/guardians that their child’s participation on the committee is voluntarily and that the child will not face retaliation for participating or
choosing not to participate on the committee and/or for any decisions about the challenged material that the student makes as part of the committee.

The Chief Academic Officer/designee shall offer the parents/guardians the opportunity to have a reasonable amount of time, as determined by the Chief Academic Officer/designee, to review the challenged material prior to determining whether their child may serve on the Review Committee and shall require consent for participation in writing prior to allowing the child to serve on the committee.

B. Within one calendar week of their appointment, the Review Committee shall hold an initial meeting and establish a timeline for the review process. The Review Committee shall aim to complete a review within two calendar weeks of their initial meeting but shall have discretion to account for the size and complexity of the challenged material and shall be entitled to an extended review period if multiple items are challenged contemporaneously.

C. Within three calendar days of their initial meeting, the facilitator of the Review Committee shall provide written notice to the complainant of the anticipated timeline for review.

D. Following the timeline established in their initial meeting, the Review Committee shall conduct the review process. The review process shall include, but need not be limited to, reading, viewing, and/or listening to the challenged material in its entirety; studying the general acceptance of the material by reading review(s) and consulting recommended list(s); determining the extent to which the material supports the curriculum and/or is needed to support the goals of the district’s media collection; and (if requested by the committee) hearing from the complainant.

E. Following the timeline established in their initial meeting, the facilitator of the Review Committee shall provide the Chief Academic Officer with one of the following recommendations: (1) retain the challenged material, (2) withdraw all or part of the challenged material, or (3) limit the use of and/or access to the challenged material. The Chief Academic Officer shall communicate the same in writing to the Complainant.

F. Within five calendar days of receipt of the written recommendation of the Review Committee, the Complainant may appeal the recommendation by submitting a written statement to the Chief Academic
Officer appealing the recommendation and setting forth the reasons for the appeal. Failure to file an appeal by this deadline shall constitute a waiver of appeal of the Review Committee’s recommendation, and the matter shall be considered resolved.

G. Within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of an appeal, the Chief Academic Officer shall convene the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) to consider and review the recommendation received from the Review Committee; a quorum of SIAC members shall not be necessary for this group to meet and act upon the appeal. The available members of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) shall meet to discuss the appeal and determine which of the following recommendations to present to the superintendent/designee: (1) retain the challenged material, (2) withdraw all or part of the challenged material, or (3) limit the use of and/or access to the challenged material. The Chief Academic Officer shall present this recommendation the superintendent/designee within two calendar days of the SIAC meeting. The Chief Academic Officer shall not share the name of the complaining parent and/or student with the committee and shall instruct the committee on maintaining confidentiality with regard to the review.

H. Within fifteen calendar days, superintendent/designee shall review SIAC’s recommendation and provide a written decision to the Review Committee Facilitator and the Chief Academic Officer who shall deliver same to Complainant. This decision shall be either to: (1) retain the challenged material, (2) withdraw all or part of the challenged material, or (3) limit the use of and/or access to the challenged material.

I. Within five calendar days of receiving written notification of the superintendent/designee’s decision, the Complainant and/or the facilitator of the Review Committee may appeal the decision to the Board of Education by submitting a written request for board review. The board shall conduct an appeal hearing within one month following the filing of the appeal and shall decide whether to sustain or overrule the superintendent/designee’s decision.

J. Pursuant to state law, any person dissatisfied with the board’s decision may appeal said decision to the Iowa Department of Education.

6. Under unusual circumstances, the board may waive the timelines outlined herein.

7. Challenged materials shall remain available in the media center collection(s) during the reconsideration process, to students other than the student involved in the challenge (if his/her parent or guardian has requested limited access thereto) unless the Review Committee, in its discretion, requests temporary removal.

8. Unless the Review Committee finds a compelling reason for deviation, a media material shall be eligible for a comprehensive review at Review Committee level or higher no more than once every seven years. If a parent/guardian submits a Reconsideration Request Form challenging a media center material less than seven years after the material’s most recent review, the Chief Academic Officer/designee will convene the Review Committee using the process outlined herein. The Review Committee will consider the complainant’s challenge and determine if a comprehensive review is warranted. If a review is not needed, the Review Committee facilitator shall, within the time frame outlined herein, provide the complainant with a copy of the most recent Review Committee recommendation for the challenged material and an explanation for why further review was not warranted. The complainant may appeal this decision following the appeals process outlined above.

Legal Reference:
Iowa Code §§ 256.7(24); 279.8; 301
281 Iowa Administrative Code 12.3(11), (12).

Cross Reference:
602 Series: Curriculum
Development 605 Series:
Instructional Materials

Approved:
June 15, 2009

Reviewed:
May 11, 2009
November 17, 2014
February 17, 2020
October 19, 2020
June 23, 2022

Revised:
June 15, 2009
November 17, 2014
February 17, 2020
October 19, 2020
July 25, 2022