Elementary Book Committee Review Escalation

Email sent by the Assistant Superintendent- Media Materials Appeals - QMC Outcomes 

Sent: Friday, April 26, 2024 5:49 PM

Policy, Regulation 606.1 outlines a procedure for handling questioned materials. The Questioned Materials Committee (QMC) took up 4 media material appeals. 

The charge of the QMC: Review the findings of the Building Committee. Determine whether or not Policy 606.1, Regulation was followed. For efficiency reasons, this committee may take up more than one appeal at a time.

QMC Reports for the 4 materials are attached. 

CALL ME MAX     CALVIN     I AM JAZZ     Melissa

Jenna Mitchler, PhD

Assistant Superintendent

Bloomington Public Schools

05/01/24 Email Reply- Escalating up to the School Board

Ms. Mitchler,

We are extremely disappointed with what you have presented as your analysis of the books that have been challenged. 

1. The initial statement of concern was never addressed for these  books.  ARE THEY AGE-APPROPRIATE?  There is no analysis or documented material that was used to address this. The reviews have merely been based on the opinions of the committee members as documented in their review statements.

2. You were presented with a list of resources and concerns at the time of     escalation that have not been addressed in your report.

3. Policy 606.1 states the following: (We have highlighted the areas that were not followed for our book submissions)

A. Each concern shall be directed to the building principal who will:

• treat each concerned person(s) request with confidentiality.

• provide and explain the District Selection Policy 606.- Not once was the policy regulation discussed, as there is no policy regulation, as you claim your committee's job was assessing.

• inform concerned person(s) that their child is not required to be exposed to the questioned material. See Alternative Instruction Request Form, 606.1b.

• try to resolve the questions of the concerned person(s) during the initial contact. - As noted in the escalation emails, our concerns were not addressed in the initial reviews.

• provide and explain use of the form, “Statement of Concern About Educational Materials and Controversial Issues”, 606.1a.

• inform Assistant Superintendent or designee and appropriate staff member(s) when the above form is given to a concerned person. 

• retain identified materials for use or place them in the reserve section in the school collection until review process is completed.- This did not happen. Books are still in circulation.

B. Upon receipt of the signed “Statement of Concern About Educational Materials and Controversial Issues” form, the principal will:

Step 1: Meet with the concerned person(s) and appropriate staff to discuss the information on the completed form.- we were diverted from principal meetings to a district level meeting.

Step 2: Appoint a building committee to investigate the questioned materials or controversial issues. (The committee will have representation from the administration, media center, teaching staff and citizens.)- Certainly no conservative or varying opinions/ voices were on this committee, exactly how were the teachers and  the "citizen" selected? Other than they have been in one of the buildings.

Step 3: Review the findings of the building committee.

Step 4: Inform the concerned person(s) and Assistant Superintendent or designee of then committee’s findings in writing.

C. If the concerned person(s) is not satisfied with the findings of the building committee, the principal will forward the concern to the Assistant Superintendent or designee who will:

Step 1: Convene a Questioned Materials Committee. The QMC shall consist of at least six (6) persons including: Your team consists of mostly extreme liberals: Beth Flottmeier- LGBTIA, Betsy Hawes - LGBTIA, Emily Rolek- advocate for Trans and BLM, and Dick Bergstrom is a former board member and has extensive ties in the district. This spot should have been filled by one or more outside residents.  There was absolutely no contrast in votes as was the case with the initial team. Seems that more citizens could have and should have been selected to join the committees.

a. staff from grade and/or subject area

b. media director

c. building principal

d. Learning and Teaching department director or designee

e. citizen(s)

f. Office of Educational Equity department director or designee

Step 2: Review the findings of the Questioned Materials Committee. You stated your committee was to determine whether or not the policy was followed and found that in each case it had been followed when we have already pointed out only some of the ways in which it was not. Part C does not state that is your only purpose. In fact part C does not state that is your purpose at all. It states you will review the findings. Did your committee review the books and then discuss the committee statements and findings? Did you review any of the posed questions and concerns that were emailed to you at the time of escalation? 

Step 3: Inform the concerned person(s) of the Questioned Materials Committee’s findings. Your report offers no insight and is inconclusive

We would like to escalate all four of the book challenges to the school board.