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Frequently Asked Questions - Instructional and Library Materials Reviews

April 3, 2023

The School-Based Review Committee at North Shore Elementary School met this afternoon (April 3) in response to a parent’s formal objection to the showing of the film “Ruby Bridges” as outlined within district Policy 2510-Instructional Materials, Including Textbooks. In preparation for this meeting, every member of the committee viewed the film, reviewed the objection form and was provided with District Policy and professional review materials. 

The committee heard from the teachers that utilized the movie and a district content specialist. Although the complainant was invited to speak to the committee, they did not attend. After careful consideration and discussion, the committee, made up of three teachers, two parents, two community members and a library media technology specialist who served as the committee chairperson voted to continue the use of the film with no additional parameters except those already in place for the showing of PG movies. 

The committee considered factors such as including grade-level appropriateness, the educational value of the materials shown to the students and parental permission requirements. The committee will prepare a report of its findings that will be posted on the district’s Library Media Technology webpage. The film remains available to all schools in the district’s licensed movie library. 

Pinellas County Schools encourages and welcomes diverse views in an effort to support public education and student success. 

Does the district have formal Policies regarding the selection, review and objection of instructional and library materials? 
Yes. The Pinellas County School Board has two Policies that relate to the selection, review and objection of instructional and/or library materials. The Policies below were updated by the School Board on January 24, 2023. The formal processes for parents and community to object to instructional and library materials are also found within these Policies. 

Policy 2240- Controversial Issues 

Policy 2510- Instructional Materials, Including Textbooks 

Has the district put administrative procedures in place to support schools in implementing the formal Policies? 
Yes. Pinellas County Schools developed Administrative Procedures Related to Supplemental Instructional Materials and Library Media Materials to bring clarity for the implementation of district Policies and state law, including F.S. 1006.28 - .42 and State Board Rule 6A-7.0715. These administrative procedures were posted and discussed publicly during the School Board Workshop on March 7, 2023. All school and district leaders were provided these updated procedures on March 10, 2023. 

When a formal objection by a parent or resident is made does that mean a book, movie, etc. is banned? 
No. If a formal objection is made a committee is formed as described in Policy 2510- Instructional Materials, Including Textbooks to review and determine next steps.  

Was the ‘Ruby Bridges’ movie banned? 
No. As part of a lesson for Black History Month, the movie ‘Ruby Bridges’ was shown to approximately 60 second grade students at North Shore Elementary on March 2, 2023. Of the approximately 60 students, two families opted to not have their student participate in viewing the movie. The movie was shown and there were no plans to show the movie again during the 2022-23 school year. The movie remains available through the district’s licensed movie library for schools provided all procedures for student viewing of movies are followed. 

Were district procedures followed in showing the movie ‘Ruby Bridges’?
Yes. In accordance with procedures for movies rated PG, permission forms were sent home to parents prior to the movie being shown on March 2. Included in the permission form was a link to the movie trailer so parents had the opportunity to review and determine their student's participation. 

Why is it being reported that the ‘Ruby Bridges’ movie was banned?
On March 6, after the showing of the movie, a parent who opted not to have their child participate in viewing the movie submitted the district Objection to Instructional and Media Materials. As the movie had already been shown and there was no plan to show the movie again in the final nine weeks of the school year, it was communicated to the parent that the school would not have any future showings during this school year. It has been incorrectly reported that the movie was banned by the school and district. The movie remains available through the district’s licensed movie library for schools provided all procedures for student viewing of movies are followed. 

Were district procedures followed regarding the objection to the movie ‘Ruby Bridges’?
Yes. As the formal objection was received just before spring break (March 11-19, 2023), the school is now engaging in the formal objection process to review the challenged material as noted within district Policy 2510- Instructional Materials, Including Textbooks