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  • Section I: Instruction


The Board recognizes that the primary objective of educational materials is to implement, extend and enrich the curriculum and education programs of the schools.  Educational materials are important to prepare students to meet the content standards of the Learning Results, to achieve the school unit’s educational goals, and to provide enrichment opportunities that expand students’ interests and encourage life-long learning.  The Board seeks to provide a wide range of educational materials at all levels of difficulty, with diverse appeal and representing various points of view. 

  1. Responsibility for Selection of Materials

The Superintendent, in consultation with administrators and professional staff, is responsible for selecting appropriate educational materials including instructional materials and library-media resources to implement the Learning Results and support the curriculum. This includes textbooks, books, print materials, software, online resource materials, multimedia materials and information technology.  Certified library-media specialists are responsible for overseeing the library-media program under the supervision of the Superintendent.  

The Superintendent is responsible for developing any administrative procedures necessary to guide the review and selection of educational materials and may delegate specific responsibilities to staff as they deem appropriate. All administrative procedures must be consistent with this policy. The Superintendent is expected to keep the Board informed about significant selections of educational materials for the school unit.

  1. Criteria for Selection

Quality educational materials and resources are essential to student learning and supporting the school unit’s educational goals and objectives.  

Instructional and library-media materials selected should:

1. Support student achievement of the content standards of the system of Learning Results;

2. Support the goals and objectives of the school unit’s educational programs;

3. Enrich and support the curriculum;

4. Take into consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the students served;

5. Foster respect, inclusion, and shared understanding for diverse and varied backgrounds and identities; 

6. Stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, ethical standards, and critical analysis;

7. Provide information that will enable students to make informed decisions in their daily lives; 

8. Be accurate and current;

9. Reflect high-quality scholarship and presentation; 

10. Represent significant authors/composers and their works from diverse groups; 

11. Be accessible by individuals with disabilities;

12. Be affordable;

13. Provide a balanced representation of the contributions of diverse groups and individuals to our American and global heritage. 

  1. Selection Procedure

The highest priority shall be meeting the instructional needs of the individual schools. In meeting this priority, preference shall be given to basic learning materials, i.e., those that are the predominant instructional materials used at particular grade levels or courses and/or are essential to student achievement of Learning Results content standards and school unit expectations.

Before selecting/recommending materials for purchase, professional staff should evaluate the existing collection, consult with staff from appropriate departments and/or grade levels, personally review the material and obtain recommendations/reviews regarding the material from appropriate reputable sources.  

Multiple copies of materials should be purchased as needed and within budgetary constraints.  Worn or missing materials should be replaced as needed. Outdated materials or materials that are no longer in demand should be withdrawn from the collection and/or circulation.

  1. Donated Materials

Gift materials are judged by the same criteria as materials selected by the school staff and in accordance with any applicable Board policies or procedures on gifts and donations. 

  1. Inspection of Materials by Parents and Opt-Out Requests

A student’s parent/guardian may inspect, upon request, any instructional or library-media materials used as part of the curriculum. Such requests shall be made to the appropriate teacher or the library media specialist. Access to the materials shall be provided within a reasonable time after such a request is made. The Superintendent may develop any administrative procedures necessary to implement this policy.

If a parent/guardian wishes to restrict their child’s access to particular instructional materials, the procedure in Board policy IMB shall be followed.

  1. Challenged Materials Procedure

This procedure applies only to requests to restrict access to or remove materials from the school’s collection or curriculum. Individual exemption requests are subject to Board policy IMB. In the event that a student, parent/guardian, staff or community member (community members are residents of Arundel, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport) has a concern regarding particular materials or requests to restrict access to or remove particular material from the curriculum or collection, the following procedure will be followed. No changes in access to, or removal of, educational materials will be made until the procedure is completed.

1. The complainant must discuss their concern first with the person providing the material in question. Individual staff members may discuss concerns, but do not have the authority to restrict access to or remove materials from the curriculum or library collection.

2. If the complainant is not satisfied, he/she shall be referred to the building administrator and requested to fill out the “Citizen’s Challenge to Educational Media” form. A copy of the form will be forwarded to the Superintendent.

3. The Superintendent shall appoint a committee composed of the following of RSU 21 persons to review the complaint: one administrator at the appropriate grade level; one librarian/media specialist; one classroom teacher; one curriculum leader/grade level leader/department head in the subject area of the challenged materials. The Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent shall chair the committee. 

4. The review committee shall read and examine the materials referred to them; check general acceptance of materials by reading reviews (if applicable); weigh the values and faults of the material in light of this policy and the school unit’s educational mission and programs. Committee members are expected to form opinions based on the material as a whole and not on passages or portions pulled out of context. The Committee should generally be neutral toward viewpoints expressed in materials and shall ask the Superintendent to consult legal counsel for advice concerning any questions involving freedom of speech or expression or other similar issues. The committee shall meet to discuss the material and prepare a written report with their recommendations. The committee may recommend to make no changes in access to the material; to restrict or relocate the material; to substitute the use of different educational material in place of the material under review; or to remove the material from the school unit’s curriculum or collection.

5. The committee shall provide the final report to the Superintendent, who will inform the complainant of the committee’s recommendation in writing. If there is no appeal of the recommendation, the recommendation will be implemented.

F. Either the Superintendent or the complainant may appeal the committee’s recommendation to the Board.  An appeal must be made in writing within ten (10) business days and must specify the reasons for disagreement with the committee’s recommendation.  The Board may set aside a portion of a regular meeting or call a special meeting to review the complaint and the committee report, and to receive testimony from representatives of the various points of view who are members of the community served by the school unit.  The material in question shall be:

a. Reviewed objectively and in its full content;

b. Evaluated in terms of the needs and interests of students, school, curriculum, and community;

c. Considered in the light of differing opinions; and

d. Reviewed in light of the criteria set forth in this policy, and the school unit’s educational mission and program.

The Board will announce any appeal decision in writing not later than the conclusion of the next regular meeting of the Board.  

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA §§ 1001 (10-A), 1055 (4), 4002

Chapter 125 (Maine Department of Education Rules)

20 U.S.C. § 1232h 

Cross Reference: IJJ-E – Citizen’s Challenge of Educational Media Form

IMB – Accommodation of Sincere Beliefs in Required Instruction

"Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, January 29, 2019

"Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, 2019

“The Students’ Right to Read”, National Council of Teachers of English, 2018 


Adopted: 11/02/09

Reviewed: 12/01/11

Amended: 10/01/18 

Amended: 12/5/22

  • Section I