The Smithfield School Committee, though it is ultimately responsible for all curriculum and instructional materials, recognizes the need and right of students to free access to many different types of books and materials and the right of the professional staff to select books and other materials supportive of the educational philosophy and goals of the school system. Criticism of a book or other materials used in the schools may be expected from time to time. In such instances:

1. If a parent requests that his/her own child not read a given book, the teacher and school administrator should resolve the situation, perhaps by arranging for the use of alternative material meeting essentially the same instructional purpose. This does not apply however to basic program texts and materials that the Committee has adopted.

2. The School Committee will not permit any individual or group to exercise censorship over instructional materials or library collections, but recognizes that, at times, a reevaluation of certain material may be desirable. Should an individual or group ask to have any book or other material withdrawn from school use:

A. The person who objects to the book or other material will be asked to sign a complaint on a standard form on which s/he will document his/her criticism.

B. Following receipt of the formal complaint, the Superintendent will provide for a reevaluation of the material in question. S/he will arrange for the appointment of a review committee from among the faculty to consider the complaint.

C. The Superintendent will review the complaint and the review committee's reevaluation and will render a decision in the matter. Should the decision be unsatisfactory to the complainant, s/he may appeal it to the School Committee.

In summary, the School Committee assumes final responsibility for all books and instructional materials it makes available to students; it holds its professional staff accountable for their proper selection. It recognizes the rights of individual parents with respect to controversial materials used by their own children and will provide for the reevaluation of materials in library collections upon formal request. On the other hand, students' right to learn and the freedom of teachers to teach will be respected.

CROSS REFS.: IJ, Instructional Materials

IJJ, Textbook Selection and Adoption

IJL, Library Materials Selection and Adoption

ADOPTED: November 18, 2019