Personal tools

Controversial Issues and Outside Speakers February 2005

Notice: This policy was reviewed, revised, and/or renamed. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please see our current policies and procedural directives.

This procedural directive was updated January 2023.


In accordance with negotiated contracts, teachers will observe the following:

  1. Without minimizing the importance of generally accepted truths and values, the Board of Education and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation agree to foster dispassionate, unprejudiced, scientific studies of controversial issues in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice.
  2. The teacher will serve as an impartial moderator and will not attempt, directly or indirectly, to limit or control the opinion of pupils on controversial issues. It is the intent of the policy that the teacher will foster the study of such issues rather than teach particular viewpoints.
  3. Freedom to teach is essential to the accomplishment of the District’s goals. Therefore, teachers have the right and responsibility to exercise professional judgment, within the limits of the above guidelines, in initiating and actively pursuing consideration of controversial issues.
  4. Teachers must inform the principal of guest speakers appearing in their classrooms.
  5. A method of involvement of teachers will be provided at the school and District level when complaints are received on issues that fall within Article 8.F of the negotiated agreement. A copy of recommendations made at the District level will be provided to the President of the ATF.
  6. In the event the Principal believes that a teacher’s presentation (oral, written or visual) of a controversial issue falls outside these Guidelines, the Principal will so advise the teacher, discuss the basis of his/her objections and recommend an alternative approach to the issue.  The teacher shall adopt the Principal’s recommendation pending mediation of the dispute by the Superintendent, or his/her designee.  The mediation shall be conducted within 2 working days of the date the controversy arose.


In accordance with Board Policy, APS Student Behavior Handbook, Section II.F, the following standards will apply:

  1. Students have the right to encounter diverse points of view. They will have opportunities to hear speakers and view presentations representing a wide range of views in classes, clubs, and assemblies under guidelines established by the District.
  2. If it is established that a student and/or parent objects as a matter of principle to participation in an activity assigned by school personnel, an alternative activity will be assigned without penalty or embarrassment to the student.
  3. As a public institution the schools have a commitment to objectivity and fairness in the presentation of all sides of an issue.
  4. Appeal of any decision made by the principal is provided for in accordance with the APS Student Behavior Handbook

Cross Ref.:

  • Board Policy I.09: Teaching About Controversial or Sensitive Issues
  • APS Student Behavior Handbook
  • Negotiated Agreement — Albuquerque Teachers Federation

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IMC

Revised: May 1995
: April 1996
: May 1997
: August 2004
: February 2005