WAUKESHA — The School District of Waukesha Board of Education unanimously approved a policy outlining procedures for complaints concerning library and educational materials Wednesday.
The policy, as proposed, outlines how complaints should be channeled throughout the district, and when a book might be removed. According to the update, students, staff or citizens can register a complaint. The person should meet with the principal or a staff member to resolve the issue. If it is not resolved at a school level, the following will occur:
■ Information will be gathered from the complainant and documented on the Complaints Concerning Educational/Library Materials form.
■ A committee of the following members will be formed.
■ Prior to the committee meeting, members will be provided with the Complaints Concerning Educational/ Library Materials form and a copy of the resource.
■ The committee will gather to discuss the complaint and make a recommendation.
■ The team must develop a rationale for the recommendation and document it. Recommendations could include limiting access to material, moving it to a different grade level, leaving the material alone, and removing it.
■ The completed Complaints Concerning Educational / Library Materials form will be sent to the superintendent for final review and consideration regarding the concern. The complaint will be logged on the Final Library Book Concern and the Complaints Concerning Educational/ Library. The person who raised the concern can appeal the decision.
Anthony Zenobia, board vice president, brought up the concern of not capturing the rationale in books/material complaints.
“If the book is reviewed and found to be age-appropriate, then it will remain. If I read this correctly, it will remain for three years. If a book is found to be inappropriate, then it could be removed for three years. What we don’t capture is why the book was reviewed and what was in the book brought the complaint in the first place,” Zenobia said.
Zenobia added the next board will have to decide whether to bring a book back or to review it again. He also had a concern about documenting why a book was raised as an issue.
Kelly Piacsek, board president, pointed to the first page of the policy. The committee would gather to discuss the complaint and make a recommendation regarding it.
“The team must develop a rationale for the recommendation and documented on the complaint concerning education or library materials. So that rationale for whatever decision they are making would be documented in a record we would retain,” she said.
Karrie Kozlowski, board clerk, said she walked through the complaint form and policy. For a parent who is raising a concern the initial discussion would start with the principal or teacher.
“If I’m brining a recommendation of concern, there are different pieces of information I’m using. One of them is going to be I’ve read the book. As a parent, it’s not required because other pieces I’m doing is that I’ve read the extensive review of a book,” Kozlowski said.
She added using page numbers and excerpts, direct quotes, and wording would give enough understanding if a book is inappropriate. The documentation would give future board members the reason why the book was brought up and why it was or was not removed.
Piacsek suggested adding language to state the superintendent or designee is responsible for ensuring that a sufficiently detailed complaint and rationale is documented in the form.