Controversial Issues



The Governing Board believes that students should have opportunities to discuss controversial issues that have political, social or economic significance and that the students are mature enough to investigate and address. The study of a controversial issue should help students learn how to gather and organize pertinent facts, discriminate between fact and fiction, draw intelligent conclusions and respect the opinions of others.

The Board expects teachers to exercise caution and discretion when deciding whether or not a particular issue is suitable for study or discussion in any particular class. Teachers should not spend class time on any topic that they feel is not suitable for the class or related to the established course of study.

The Board also expects teachers to ensure that all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented, with adequate and appropriate factual information. Without promoting any partisan point of view, the teacher should help students separate fact from opinion and warn them against drawing conclusions from insufficient data. The teacher shall not suppress any student's view on the issue as long as its expression is not malicious or abusive towards others.

Teachers sponsoring guest speakers shall either ask them not to use their position or influence on students to forward their own religious, political, economic or social views, or shall take active steps to neutralize whatever bias has been presented.

Legal Reference:
Education Code
51510 Prohibited study or supplemental materials
51511 Religious matters properly included in courses of study
51530 Prohibition and definition re advocating or teaching communism with intent to indoctrinate
51550 Sex education courses
60040 Portrayal of cultural and racial diversity
60044 Prohibited instructional materials
60045 Required to be accurate, objective, current, and suited to needs and comprehension at respective grade levels

First Reading: 10/13/04

Governing Board Adoption: 11/10/04

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