603.09 – Teaching Controversial Issues

A “controversial issue” is defined as an area of significant academic inquiry about which substantial segments of the citizens of this community, state, or nation hold sincere conflicting points of view.

It is the belief of the Board that if controversial issues are to be discussed, they should be fairly presented in a spirit of honest academic freedom to the end that individual students may recognize the validity of other points of view but can learn to formulate their own opinions based upon dispassionate, objective, unbiased study and discussion of the factual bases underlying the controversy.

It shall be the responsibility of the instructor to present fully and fairly the opportunity and means for students to study, consider, and discuss all sides of controversial issues, including but not limited to political philosophy.

It shall be the responsibility of the instructor to protect the right of the student to study pertinent controversial issues within limits of good taste, allowing students to express personal opinions without jeopardizing their relationships with their instructors or school.

It shall be the responsibility of the instructor to refrain from advocating partisan causes, sectarian religious views, or selfish propaganda of any kind through any classroom or school device; however, an instructor shall not be prohibited from expressing a personal opinion as long as the student is encouraged to reach his/her own decision independently.

It shall be the policy of this District, with respect to controversial issues, to encourage instructors to lead full discussions thereof in a spirit of academic freedom to the end that the student may learn that they have the right to disagree with the opinion of another, but have the responsibility to base their disagreement upon fact and at the same time respect the right of another to hold a conflicting opinion.

Before controversial issues are to be covered, the classroom teachers will confer with their building administrator. 

Cross Reference: 605  Selection of Instructional Materials

Date of Adoption: January 19,    2009

Reviewed & Revised: March 21, 2016; June 17, 2019