A Hardin Valley Parent sent the following letter to the Focus office this morning:
(The letter details his attempts to have parental notification rights added to the BOE meeting agenda and apparent refusal of the Board of Education to accommodate the request of concerned parents.) See below:
Dear Dr. McIntyre, Ms. Carson, and Ms. Coatney:
For the second time, as a citizen of the Knox County District and on behalf of concerned
Knox County parents, I request the matter of parental notification rights in the selection of
instructional materials be added to the agenda for consideration and discussion at the regular
session Board meeting. We would like this added to the agenda for April 2013.
The subject of selection of instructional materials was discussed at the November 19,
2012, Board meeting; however, there was no resolution. I sent an e-mail to all Knox County
Board members December 21, 2012, which refers to practices used in some of the Knox County
schools in regards to this matter. Knox County High Schools Designated Titles document states,
“Teachers should use their discretion in selecting titles.” Is this the policy?
At the December 13, 2012, Community Forum, I asked Dr. McIntyre if a policy is in place
to insure parents know in detail what is in novels, films, and being spoken to our children by
guest speakers. Dr. McIntyre answered affirmatively, “… There is a policy … I think the policy is
very specific and very clear.” After the forum, I talked with Dr. McIntyre and Russ Oaks and was
referred to Policy IKBB. This policy does not insure parents are notified in advance, in detail, of
the content in novels, films, and what is being presented to our children by guest speakers.
However, this policy does state, “The final decision concerning the use of controversial
materials shall rest with the Board.”
After my request in January for this issue to be added to the agenda, I received a letter
from Dr. McIntyre dated January 28, 2013, putting off action until the spring. In this letter Dr.
McIntyre stated, “I expect to provide the Board of Education amended polices for public
discussion and Board consideration in the spring.” As you know, the first day of spring is March
20, so it is now time for action. We have heard Chairperson Karen Carson state that, “The board
sets policy and the administration’s job is to set procedure that makes policy happen.” It’s time
for action from the Board to set the policy, not words putting off resolution of the issue. There
have been a number of serious failures to notify parents going back at least as far as 2010,
perhaps even further. We have been asking to see policies for seven months and no policy has
been shown to us which insures parents will be informed in detail, as the policy Dr. McIntyre
referred to at the Dec. 13, 2012 Community Forum. We deserve to see this policy. After
checking certain personnel files, reprimand for breaking such policies seems to be nonexistent.
A firm notification policy needs to be in place to insure parents and students are notified
of content, in detail, in advance, along with alternate titles offered upfront. Notification should
include facts detailing content, not opinions. Opinions are subjective; facts are not subjective.
Facts detailing content are fair to all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs, or
creed. Facts are facts! This is a reasonable policy that should have been in place long ago and
should be consistent in all schools in the Knox County School District.
March 12, 2013