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6161.2 Complaints Regarding Instructional Materials


Northfield, New Jersey Monitored


Policy X Other Reasons


The Northfield City Board of Education recognizes the rights of the student to free access to many different types of books and other materials. It is the responsibility of the administrator to provide a wide range of materials with diversity of appeal and the presentation of different points of view on varying levels of difficulty. The board also recognizes the responsibility of teachers and administrators to select books and other materials in accordance with current trends in education and to make them available in the schools. Books and other materials shall be chosen for values, interest, appropriateness and enlightenment of all students of the community.

The board recognizes that opinions may differ on the appropriateness of any given instructional materials and equipment. Occasionally an individual or group may find instructional materials used in the schools that conflict with their views. Any resident of this district shall have the right to present a request, suggestion or complaint in reference to the subject matter or instructional materials.

The Board directs the establishment of procedures for the hearing and settlement of requests and complaints that provide a means for resolving them fairly and impartially and permit appropriate redress.

When a Board member is confronted with an issue related to instructional material, he/she will refer the complaint or inquiry to the Superintendent, who shall review the complaint according to established procedures.

Only in those cases where satisfactory adjustment cannot be made by the Superintendent and the staff shall communications and complaints be referred to the Board for resolution.

The Superintendent shall establish procedures for the hearing of requests and complaints regarding the educational program and instructional and resource materials. Procedures will be governed by the following guidelines:

  1. The matter will be resolved initially, wherever possible, by informal discussions between or among the interested parties.
  2. A matter that cannot be resolved informally may be appealed at successive levels of authority, up to and including the Board of Education.
  3. The complaint and its immediate resolution will be reduced to writing at the first and at each successive level of appeal.
  4. A reasonable period of time, not to exceed ten calendar days, will be permitted for the filing of an appeal in writing at each successive level. A decision at each level of appeal must be rendered in writing no later than ten working days after the appeal is filed, except that the Board shall have thirty calendar days to make its decision.
  5. In the case of complaints about instructional or resource materials, the initial complaint must set forth in writing the author, title, and publisher of the materials as well as those specific portions of the material or the work to which objection is taken; the complainant’s familiarity with the work; the reasons for the objection; and the use of the work in the schools. The Superintendent may appoint a committee of professional staff members and community representatives to review the challenged material against the standards for the selection of resource materials established by Board policy. The committee will report its findings to the Board. No challenged material may be removed from the curriculum or from a collection of resource materials except by action of the Board of Education, and no challenged material may be removed solely because it presents ideas that may be unpopular or offensive to some. Any Board action to remove material will be accompanied by the Board’s statement of its reasons for the removal.
  6. A complainant shall be notified that a decision of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education.

Adopted: June 2, 1997

NJSBA Review/Update: December 2009, February 2023

Readopted: October 24, 2011

Key Words

Instructional Materials, Complaints Regarding Instructional Materials, Complaints, Censorship

Legal Reference: N.J.S.A. 18A:11-1 General mandatory powers and duties

N.J.S.A. 18A:54-20 Powers of board (county vocational schools)

Board of Education Island Trees U.F.S.D. v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982)


Cross References: *1312 Community complaints and inquiries

*6144 Controversial issues

*6161.1 Guidelines for evaluation and selection of instructional materials

*Indicates policy is included in the Critical Policy Reference Manual.

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