INB - Studying Controversial Issues
Since our society is based on the free exchange of ideas and diversity of political and social thought, it shall be the policy of this district to encourage unbiased, unprejudiced and scientific study of controversial issues as they arise as part of the school curriculum. A controversial issue may be defined as any topic or problem which society is in the process of debating on which there is honest disagreement. Such issues arise when different interpretations are given to a particular set of circumstances.
The basic goal in study of controversial questions should be to enable the student to develop techniques for considering such questions techniques which he/she will use habitually in later life. Learning situations shall provide opportunities for the development of clear thinking, balanced judgment, intelligent choices, informed opinion, an ability to differentiate fact from opinion and an understanding of propaganda devices. Questions treated should come within the range of the knowledge, maturity and competence of the students. Issues selected for study should be current, significant and of interest to the students.
The teacher has the responsibility of handling controversial issues. The role of the teacher should be such as will reveal to students the processes used by the social scientist with which problems are identified, studied and solved. The teacher shall avoid indoctrination in his/her own personal viewpoint and shall not attempt to control or limit the judgment of students. The selection of materials, guest speakers and classroom activities in general shall be done with studied impartiality for the purpose of fairly presenting all sides of an issue.
The administration of this policy in the schools of the district is the immediate responsibility of the principal under the guidance of procedures established by the superintendent.
U.S. Const. amend. I.
Or. Const., art. I.
GBG - Staff Participation in Political Activities
IIA - Instructional Resources/Instructional Materials
IB - Freedom of Expression
- At the beginning of the school year, teachers, in conjunction with a building administrator, will review the policy and guidelines concerning controversial issues and speakers, and will reevaluate the preceding year's activities as they pertain to the use of controversial resource persons. Implementation of the policy will be evaluated continuously throughout the year to avoid oversights in procedure.
- The teacher shall notify the principal principal concerning the controversial topic he/she plans to introduce and/or the guest speaker he/she plans to utilize in his/her program. It shall be the responsibility of the principal, the department and the teacher to ensure impartiality. When opinions differ as to the advisability of addressing a particular topic or using a particular speaker, the principal shall have the final determination.
- As appropriate, the teacher shall discuss with the guest before his/her appearance in the classroom the fact that he/she is in a school class and language and behavior should be appropriate for public school students.
- The teacher must remain with the students while the guest speaker is with the class.