Frisco ISD board members have approved changes to district policy that outlines district response to complaints about instructional materials.
Current district policy allows parents of FISD students, employees and district residents to challenge an instructional resource “on the basis of appropriateness.”
During a Monday meeting of the FISD Board of Trustees, Danny Stockton, FISD’s government and legal affairs executive director, said the changes came in an effort to update a policy that had been written many years ago. The policy changes presented Monday do not address the selection of instructional materials, he said.
“The reason for the change is that this policy was written many years ago and there were very few of these objections,” Stockton said, “and we actually have not received many objections either, but as we were looking at the policy and thinking through some of the practicalities of responding to objections, we wanted to make sure we had a process that made sense for any parents or employees who were objecting to instructional materials as well as for the district.”
Stockton said the district policy encourages informal resolutions of concerns. Part of the changes approved Monday involved removing steps that outlined how an informal resolution would work, which Stockton said had formalized an informal process.
For formal response, the policy changes draw a distinction between campus-selected materials, and district-selected materials and library books.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to have a campus-based objection system for something that’s at multiple campuses,” Stockton said. “If we’ve determined it’s not appropriate for one campus, then it’s not going to be appropriate for another campus at the same level. And so we want to make sure we weren’t having decisions made at an individual campus that really needed to be applied to the entire district.”
The updated policy states that objections to campus-related resources will be reviewed by the campus principal.
“Often these are four-paragraph articles or two-minute videos, something like that.” Stockton said. “Those are the kinds of things that we’re talking about here that a principal’s going to review, they’re going to make a determination about whether that resource was appropriately selected, and then they’re going to make a decision.”
For objections to district-related resources and library books, the policy states that the superintendent will appoint a reconsideration committee to review the resource, a response Stockton said was already laid out in district policy.
The new policy also allows the district to consolidate multiple objections from different campuses to the same material for one committee to review.
The new policy also provides a timeline that wasn’t included before: principals and committees now have 30 district business days to provide a written report of findings.
“I know that sounds like a long time, but when you think about it, if you’re reviewing a novel and you’ve got a bunch of people who’s full time job is working in the school district and we’re now asking them to read this novel as part of that and do this really thorough review, that takes time,” Stockton said.
Board members approved the changes unanimously.