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How Does a Curriculum Objection Work in District 86?

A recent curriculum objection over the showing of sexually suggestive movies in a high school class should get a response from the superintendent within 15 days of the objection's filing.

Since a recent curriculum objection in District 86 over the showing of racy films in a high school class was the first that’s been filed in at least eight years, it’s likely the community doesn’t know how such objections work and what it can expect in terms of when and from whom a response will come.

Here are the basics:

According to District 86 Board Policy 2:260, its "Uniform Grievance Procedure," once a curriculum objection is filed by a community member with the superintendent, one of the district’s two complaint managers—who are director of human resources Troy Courtney and director of student services Joyce Powell—has 10 school days to conduct an investigation of the curriculum in question, or "appoint a qualified person to undertake the investigation on his or her behalf."

When the investigation is finished, the complaint manager or outside investigator will present a report to Superintendent Nick Wahl, who then has five school days to review the report and provide to the complainant a decision on the future of the curriculum in question.

The recent curriculum objection to the showing of “American Beauty” and “Brokeback Mountain” in a Hinsdale South Film as Literature course, a class open to juniors and seniors, was filed on Sept. 12 and was the first filed in Wahl’s eight years with District 86.

READ: D86 Parent on Objection to Sexually Suggestive Movies: 'Maybe Mine Will Open the Door'

Wahl said an outside expert, retired high school principal Tom Paulsen, was brought in to investigate Casini’s objection. Paulsen served as one of Hinsdale Central’s interim principals during the 2009-10 school year.

In order to adhere with district policy, Paulsen must complete his investigation and present a report to Wahl by Wednesday, Sept. 26. Wahl then has until Wednesday, Oct. 3, to provide a response to Casini.

According to Policy 2:260, if the complainant is not satisfied with the superintendent’s decision, he or she has five days to appeal to the board of education, which has the power to “affirm, reverse, or amend” the decision. The board can also direct the superintendent to gather more info.

"Within 5 school days of the Board’s decision, the Superintendent shall inform the Complainant of the Board’s action," the policy reads. "The Complainant may appeal the Board of Education’s decision to the Regional Superintendent pursuant to Section 3-10 of The School Code and, thereafter, to the State Superintendent pursuant to Section 2-3.8 of The School Code."

So while the school board plans to discuss the big picture of its curriculum approval powers at its Monday night meeting (agenda here), it is also possible that Casini’s particular objection will come before board members in the coming weeks. 

Patch's past reporting on the District 86 movie-objection topic:

  • D86 Parent on Objection to Sexually Suggestive Movies: 'Maybe Mine Will Open the Door'
  • Complaints About Sex-Heavy Films in School Prompt Cops to Review District Emails
  • D86 Superintendent: 'Brokeback' and 'American Beauty' Staying on Syllabus for Now
  • 'Highly Controversial' Movies Being Shown in Class Have D86 Parent Concerned

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