INB - Studying Controversial Issues

Code: INB
Adopted: Unknown
Re-adopted: 8/13/97
Original Code: 4310

A controversial issue may be defined as any topic or problem which society is in the process of debating on which there is honest disagreement.  Such issues arise when different interpretations are given to a particular set of circumstances.

Most of the school curriculum is composed of established truths and accepted values.  The American heritage and our established traditions are not controversial.  However, controversial issues do arise from conflicts within the interests, beliefs or affiliations of large groups of our citizens.

Free discussion of controversial issues is the heart of the democratic process.  Freedom of speech and free access to information are among our most cherished traditions.  Only through the study of such issues - political, economic and social - does youth develop abilities needed for citizenship in our democracy.

As a result, it shall be the policy of the district to encourage dispassionate, unprejudiced and objective studies of controversial issues in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice.

The teacher is the most important member of the staff in the actual handling of controversial issues.  The role of the teacher should be to serve as an impartial moderator and shall not attempt, either directly or indirectly, to indoctrinate, limit or control the judgment of his/her students.  It is the intent of this policy that the teacher shall foster the study of such issues rather than teach a particular viewpoint in regard to them.  However, every effort shall be made by the teacher to inculcate an appreciation as well as a complete understanding of the American heritage and our system of democratic government.

The administration of this policy in the district is the immediate responsibility of the building principal under the guidance of procedures established by the superintendent.

Legal Reference(s)

ORS 336.067
OAR 581-022-1020
OAR 581-022-1910
United States Constitution, Amendment I.
Oregon Constitution, Article 1.

Cross Reference(s)

IB - Freedom of Expression
IICB - Community Resource Persons