Members of the Lake Forest School Board consider how to handle the possibility of parents objecting to books or teaching material in the district.
Members of the Lake Forest School Board Sept. 24 unanimously approved the first reading of a policy meant to deal with material in school libraries or in class curricula that members of the public might find objectionable.
Coincidentally, the vote came on the eve of the American Library Association’s observation of Banned Books Week, which runs Sept. 26 to Oct. 3.
“It gives us a policy to follow when someone wants to challenge what a teacher wants to read or finds it inappropriate,” said district Superintendent Dr. Daniel Curry.
The district had such a policy at one time, but it was eliminated by accident during a general cleanup of rules and regulations, Curry said.
Although no one has challenged any of the district’s instructional materials during his tenure as superintendent, reinstating a policy seemed to be a good, proactive measure in the event such a case does come up, he said.
“We didn’t want to get caught without having a procedure to deal with it,” Curry said.
Under the proposed policy, if a parent finds a book objectionable, the first step would be to submit a written form to the school principal outlining the reasons. A committee, chaired by the principal, will review the objection along with all documentation, and make a recommendation to the district’s curriculum supervisor, who makes a final decision.
Appeals of the curriculum supervisor’s determination would be handled by the full school board.
Following standard procedure, a second reading of the policy should be conducted at the board’s next meeting.
In other business, board members were advised that it appears the district will be authorized four additional teaching units, based on preliminary school attendance figures, said district Director of Personnel Dr. Tammy J. Croce.
Those figures should be finalized by Sept. 30, in accordance with Delaware law, and then reported to the Department of Education. The DOE will make the final decision on how many teachers the district will be allotted.
“Right now, we’re pretty close to where we were last year, with 250 units,” Croce said. However, the district has filled less than that number just in case enrollment numbers were down, she said.
“We usually don’t allocate out what we think we’ll get,” Croce said. “We usually hold back by four or five.”
The number of teachers assigned to the district is determined by how many students are enrolled and is computed based on a number of factors, including how many special needs students are in the schools.
As of Sept. 25, there were 3,060 students in the district, although that number fluctuates slightly day to day.
“I don’t think it will change drastically from this point until next week,” Croce said, adding her office will allocated any new teaching units once the DOE releases final numbers, sometime around the end of October.
Email Jeff Brown at email@example.com
Meetings of the Lake Forest School Board
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8; meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of each month
Where: Lake Forest District Headquarters, 5423 Killens Pond Road, Felton
The public is invited to attend