A selection policy helps by adding a layer of rules and involvement of others so that when books are chosen, the selection is made under the rules and guidelines and involve a group of people, usually a selection committee that makes or agrees to recommendations of a selection. It is always comforting to have others in agreement with your decision whether there will be others who do or do not.
A grievance procedure is the process an individual must use if he or she wants to formally challenge the use or availability of a book. It must always include a signature and explanation for the action being requested. A designated committee will then consider the complaint. A final decision is then made by the school or library. If the decision is not agreeable, the individual who complained may choose to seek legal counsel and request a hearing in court.
Last, the teacher and other representatives for the school or library need to continually strive to keep all parties from becoming emotional. This can be done by first listening to the person who has the complaint and attempt to resolve it at an informal level. It is sometimes helpful to describe the approval process used for the selection with reference to the required policy and procedures.
One benefit of the policy and procedure for selection of books and complaints about books is to protect both parties. By calmly explaining that no decision can be made without going through proper channels, or to change previous decisions to use or not use certain titles is not a personal decision, but requires certain rules or procedures be followed. Such statements made matter of fact can reduce emotional and biased decisions. Emotional responses can also be reduced when additional people are brought into the process so that additional ears and minds can listen and respond better to both parties to keep everyone calm and honest. If nothing can be resolved informally, then the person who is challenging the book can be told they will need to complete the appropriate forms to make a formal request to challenge a specific book.
Literature that people have attempted to control has included: books with profanity, unhappy endings, drug use, stereotypes, use of politically incorrect language, religious related ideas, and questionable images. Sometimes literature is questioned with a narrow focus say on the use a particular word one should enlarge the focus and look at the whole book. How does the use of a certain word fit with the overall story. Is it used for a redeemable reason? If the book has a sad ending, are there more books in the library with happy endings? Often more choice is a better option, rather than less choice. If we want students to learn how to make good choice, then we need to provide them with real world choices to learn how to make them.
Date of publication
Type of media (printed book, video, magazine, pamphlet, instructional material, ...)
Person making the request
Address of building(s) where material is/are used
If request is supported by a group or organization, include the following information.
Name of group
Address of group
Group resolution or other action by the group. Describe kind of action and attach supporting minutes or other exhibits.
Describe what was reviewed. (pages, minutes in video, or other description)
Describe specifically what part you object, where it is located, why you object, how it might be harmful to students, and what value it might have to students.
If there is support from other experts in a field related to the objectionable media, include their objection and rationale.
If this material is removed, then what other material would you recommend to replace it that would be better for the intended purpose.
Do you want to present your request in person. Yes No. If yes, you will be contacted at the provided location with a date and time.