Policy Title: Teaching Controversial Issues
Code No.: 611
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 controversial issues 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 basis 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 philosophies.
It shall be the responsibility of the instructor to protect the right of the student to study pertinent controversial issues within the limits of good taste and to allow the student to express personal opinions without jeopardizing the student’s relationship with the teacher.
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 students are encouraged to reach their own decisions independently.
It shall be the policy of the school system with respect to controversial issues to encourage instructors to lead full discussions thereof in a spirit of academic freedom to the end that the students may learn that they have the right to disagree with the opinion of another, but they have the responsibility to base their disagreement upon facts and at the same time respect the rights of others to hold conflicting opinions.
Date of Adoption/Revision: