EMB(LOCAL) - MISCELLANEOUS INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES: TEACHING ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

The District shall address controversial topics in an impartial and objective manner. Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues. Students and educators shall ensure that, to the extent possible, discussions are conducted fairly and courteously.

Selection of Topics

A teacher selecting topics for discussion in the classroom shall be adequately informed about the issue and capable of providing instruction on the subject, free from personal bias. In addition, the teacher shall be certain that:

The issue in question is within the range, knowledge, maturity, and comprehension of the students.

The issue is current and educationally significant.

The consideration of the issue does not interfere with required instruction.

Sufficient relevant information on all aspects of the issue is provided.

If a teacher is unsure about a topic of discussion or about the methods to employ, the teacher may discuss the issue with the principal.

Classroom Discussion

In guiding classroom discussion of controversial issues, teachers shall:

Foster students' critical thinking skills.

Encourage discussion based on rational analysis.

Create an atmosphere in which students learn to respect others' opinions and disagree courteously.

Ensure that multiple viewpoints about the issue are presented by introducing an unexpressed viewpoint when necessary.

Avoid any attempt to coerce or persuade students to adopt the teacher's point of view.

Student Expression

Students may express their viewpoints during classroom discussion or in assigned work. A student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject, shall be treated in the same manner as a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject. Students shall not be discriminated against based on the religious content of their viewpoints.

Instructors may prohibit student expression that: i

Is irrelevant or inappropriate to the subject under discussion or assigned;

Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent;

Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others;

Promotes illegal drug use or other conduct prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct;

Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person;

Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action; or

Violates state or federal law or any provision of the United States Constitution.

Student Art

Teachers shall require any person modeling for figure drawing to follow the District's dress code. Nude, semi-nude, or implied nude life drawing shall not be conducted in a District classroom.

Students shall be required to have written parental permission before submitting nude, semi-nude, or implied nude artwork prepared outside a District classroom for any art class, competition, grade, or Advanced Placement portfolio.

Nude, semi-nude, or implied nude photography shall not be conducted in a District classroom, nor shall it be accepted for any class assignment.

Teachers shall not keep nor use any student artwork for personal use without written permission from the student and parent or guardian. Use of student artwork as examples of classroom projects shall be permitted.

Student or Parent Concerns

A student or parent with concerns regarding instruction about controversial issues shall be directed to the complaint policy at FNG.

Austin ISD

EMB(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2007.11

DATE ISSUED: 10/9/2007