Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: IMB-R


Teaching about Controversial/Sensitive Issues

Staff members should be made aware that they do not teach stances on controversial issues but rather provide opportunities for students to formulate positions on controversial or sensitive issues by guiding students in researching the issues and the opinions of others and assisting students in developing rationale for their personal positions.

In order to assure that instruction which encompasses a controversial issue is handled in a neutral manner, the following guidelines have been formulated:

  • Deal with controversial topics impartially and objectively.
  • Handle all such topics in a manner suited to the range of knowledge, maturity, and competence of the students.
  • Have instructional materials dealing with all aspects of a controversial topic readily available. This should include historic and current literature on all aspects of the issue, as well as court decisions and legal opinions.
  • Do not expect or require that the class reach an agreement.
  • When in doubt about the advisability of taking up a controversial topic, consult with the building principal.
  • Grade student work upon the quality of the student’s work in developing and articulating an opinion, not based upon the student’s opinion on the issue(s).
  • If shared, personal opinions must be communicated with caution and sensitivity to the classroom learning environment. Staff members must inform students that this is a personal opinion rather than a factual and authoritative statement. He or she must express the opinion so that it does not interfere with the evaluation process of the students. It should be stressed that the students have every right to reach a different opinion.


Regulation   Board Action (formerly 6144)
Approved: 05-28-68    
Revised: 09-24-01 29954  
Revised: 02-25-08 34975  
Reviewed: 04-09-12 36336  
Reviewed: 02-13-17 37688