SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109
Parental rights Relative To Curriculum, Assessments,
And Excusal From Instruction On Religious Grounds
In accordance with the Public School Code, Title 22, chapter 5, Section 5.4, the following assurance statements have been established regarding parental access to curriculum and assessment information as well as procedures for excusal from instruction on religious grounds:
The school district recognizes a responsibility to guarantee parental access to curricular and assessment information. It is therefore the policy of the school board to provide opportunities for parents to review curriculum materials and information concerning assessment instruments simply by arranging an appointment with the appropriate building administrator, director of pupil services or assistant superintendent. Timely notification by parents of a desire to review curriculum materials and/or information regarding assessment instruments will provide ample opportunity for meaningful communication and interaction. If a parent deems it necessary to challenge curricular materials or programmatic components, the following procedural steps shall be implemented:
- Upon receipt of a request for reconsideration of a program and/or instructional materials, the building principal shall provide the individual with a copy of the policy and the appropriate form (see attached).
- A review committee shall be convened by the Assistant Superintendent and/or Director of Pupil Services to examine the written complaint, rendering a decision within fifteen (15) days.
- A written report will be filed with the Superintendent and all parties involved.
- If the complainant’s objections to the targeted instructional materials or course content remain unresolved, he/she may request the Superintendent to present an appeal to the school board, which shall make a final determination of the issue.
- No instructional materials or course content (whose appropriateness has been challenged) shall be eliminated except upon the recommendation of a review committee with the concurrence of the Superintendent, the concurrence of the School Board, or upon formal action of the Board of School Directors when a recommendation of a review committee is appealed.
The school district recognizes the right of parents to have their children excused from specific instruction which conflicts with their religious beliefs.
- The Board recognizes that parents may, on occasion, based on their religious beliefs, object to the involvement of their child(ren) in certain aspects of the district’s established curriculum.
- The Board directs the Superintendent and Administration to respond to parent requests for exemptions from curriculum requirements using the following guidelines in accordance with applicable State regulations:
- Maintain the expectation that all students complete the curriculum as established by the Susquehanna Township Board in conjunction with State Board of Education curriculum rules and regulations.
- Deny all requests that are so general and pervasive in nature as to prevent achieving the desired outcomes of the established curriculum requirements or that are simply impossible to administer.
- Evaluate all requests to insure that the materials and/or practices to which there are objections do not violate the protections of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
- Parents requesting exemptions from specific instruction for their children which conflict with their religious beliefs shall complete a “Request For Exemption From Specific Instruction” form and submit said form to the building principal.
It shall be the policy of the Board that:
- Students may be excused from portions of courses when the subject matter is incompatible with the religious beliefs of such students and/or their parents.
- Only those students may be excused whose parents or guardians have submitted a signed “request for exemption” to the principal of the school attended by the student.
- The principal shall review the request for exemption, notifying parents of his/her recommendations within ten (10) days.
- Parents in disagreement with the principal’s decision may appeal to the Superintendent, who shall review and respond to the parental written request, within ten (10) days.
- Excused secondary school students will be given individual substitute assignments acceptable from selected material; and assessments for such students will be adjusted so as not to penalize an individual’s achievement outcomes.
- No individual substitute assignments will be made at the elementary school level.
The school district recognizes the right of parents, in rare instances, to have their children excused from State assessments. It shall be the policy of the Board that:
- Students may be excused from State assessments upon receipt by the school district of a written request by the parents/guardians.
- Parents/guardians must submit a written request for their child’s excusal from one or more of the State assessments to the building principal, stating:
- the portion(s) of the State assessment to which they object;
- the reasons for those objections.
- If the objection is not resolved at the building principals level, the parent/guardian may appeal to the Director of Pupil Services to consider the objection, who will respond within ten (10) days.
- If the complainant’s objections remain unresolved, he/she may ask the Superintendent to present an appeal to the School Board which shall make a final determination of the issue.
- No student shall be excused from State assessments pending a final decision.
Amended by the School Board – January 24, 1994
SUSQUHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109
REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM SPECIFIC INSTRUCTION
PARENT NAME: ______________________________________________________
REQUEST INITIATED BY: ______________________________________________
- Please explain the basis of your objection.
- With specific reference to your objection, please list below the specific course content objectives and/or specific methodology to which you are objecting. Please reference Planned Course Guide or textbook for specific content, materials or practices.
PARENT SIGNATURE: ____________________________DATE:_______________
To be completed by School district; return to building principal
PRINCIPAL’S SIGNATURE: ____________________________________________
The above request has been reviewed by the administration and
IS____IS NOT____ (please check) recommended for approval.
SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT 1
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109
REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL
MATERIALS OR COURSE CONTENT
Please check area for reconsideration:
( ) Program ( ) Textbook ( ) Resource Material
( ) Assessment Instrument ( ) Other___________________
Request Initiated by : _______________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________Telephone: _________
Complainant represents (check appropriate item) :
Self _______ Group _______
Name of group (if applicable): _________________________________________
- To what on the material do you object? (Please be specific. If print, cite pages.)
- What do you feel might be the results of experiencing this material?
- For what, if any, age group would you recommend this material?
- What would you like your school to do about this material/programmaticcomponent?
______________________________do not assign it to my child
______________________________require parental permission
______________________________withdraw material from school
- In its place, what material of equal quality would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture or perspective?
Signature of Complainant Date
Original - Principal
cc - Assistant Superintendent
cc - Superintendent