This Policy is under review.

304P - Instructional Materials and the Selection of Materials

Last Updated Date: 01/01/2023

Adoption Date: 02/06/1990

Revision History: 08/15/1994, 12/06/1994, 03/17/1997, 05/15/2000, 08/21/2001, 11/08/2006, 10/05/2010, 05/07/2019, 06/18/2019, 01/01/2023


It is the policy of the Frederick County School Board to provide a wide variety of instructional materials that include textbooks, supplemental materials, and library media materials to support the curriculum and enrich the educational program of the school. A school library media center in each school shall provide a wide range of materials on appropriate levels with a diversity of appeal and point of view. 

Parents may inspect, on request, any instructional material used as part of their student’s curriculum.

The School Board ensures parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content.

The School Board provides nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent requests that the student be provided with such instructional material and/or activities.

The Superintendent is responsible for creating, implementing, and periodically updating procedures for implementing this policy. Those procedures will include 

  • a process for identifying instructional materials, including supplementary materials, with sexually explicit content;
  • a process for identifying, prior to the start of each school year, any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content that may be used during the upcoming school year;
  • a process by which principals will provide written notice to parents at least 30 days prior to the use of any instructional materials with sexually explicit content, that (a) specifically identifies the instructional materials with sexually explicit content, (b) informs parents of their right to review such instructional materials, and (c) informs parents of their right to have their child use, upon request, in a non-punitive manner, alternative instructional materials that do not include sexually explicit content; 
  • a process by which parents may change their decision with respect to the use of alternative instructional materials by providing written notice;
  • a process for maintaining a current list of instructional materials with sexually explicit content by grade and subject matter on the division’s website; and
  • a process for online access for parental review of instructional materials that include sexually explicit content unless such review is not technically feasible or is prohibited by copyright protection. The process shall include provisions requiring schools to have instructional materials including sexually explicit content available for review by parents.


“Instructional material” and “instructional materials” mean any content used by one or more students for an educational purpose in connection with Frederick County Public Schools regardless of (a) its format, whether printed, representational, audiovisual, electronic, or digital (such as materials, social media content, and software applications accessible through the internet), or (b) the time, place and manner in which the content is used. Library materials are considered instructional materials when used (a) for completion of an assignment from Frederick County Public Schools, or (b) as part of an academic or extracurricular education program conducted by Frederick County Public Schools. They include any division, school, and/or classroom purchased or created assessments. They do not include standardized national or state assessments, such as ACT, SAT, NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress), AP (Advanced Placement) or SOL (Standards of Learning) exams.

“Nudity" means a state of undress so as to expose the human male or female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a full opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple, or the depiction of covered or uncovered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state. 

“Parent” or “parents” means any parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person having control or charge of a child.

“Sadomasochistic abuse” means actual or explicitly simulated flagellation or torture by or upon a person who is nude or clad in undergarments, a mask or bizarre costume, or the condition of being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained on the part of one so clothed.

"Sexually explicit content" means (a) any description of or (b) any picture, photograph, drawing, motion picture film, digital image or similar visual representation depicting sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, as defined in this policy, sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, as defined in this policy, coprophilia, urophilia, or fetishism. Instructional materials shall not be designated as sexually explicit based solely on the sexual orientation of the characters therein. 

Textbooks and Related Materials 

Textbooks shall be provided at all levels, except adult education. New adoptions shall be considered every six years or as required by the Board of Education.  Textbooks shall be purchased from publishers approved by the Virginia Board of Education for use in the public schools. Textbooks shall be reviewed and recommended for adoption by a textbook adoption committee comprised of selected staff members and citizens of the county. All textbooks will be approved by the Frederick County School Board. Textbooks will be available for review by citizens at each individual school. Prior to recommendation and approval, all textbooks will be evaluated to ensure they address locally-approved curriculum guidelines. Only textbooks, ancillary materials or electronic media that are approved by the Frederick County School Board will be purchased with textbook account funds.

Textbooks for approved courses offered to Frederick County Public Schools students through an alternative means (on-line or virtual classrooms) may be purchased with textbook funds.  The school board approval process will be waived unless initiated by superintendent or designee.  No textbook approved by the Frederick County School Board for use in Frederick County Public Schools shall be changed until such book has been in use for a period of not less than six years, subject to renewal from one-four years, unless such book becomes obsolete or unless a change would result in a material decrease in price.  The Frederick County School Board may, by agreement with the publisher, permit the substitution of a revised edition of any adopted book at the lowest price such revised edition is offered for sale anywhere in the United States.  Whenever such book is so changed, the board may permit the use of the old book for a period of at least three years from the date of such change. 

Order information will be provided upon request to individuals who wish to purchase textbooks privately. Students are charged with the care of books, ancillary materials, electronic media and equipment, and shall be required to return the same in good condition at the close of the school year or upon departure. Any books, ancillary materials, electronic media and equipment, that is lost, destroyed, or defaced beyond wear of normal use shall be replaced, at a cost to be borne by the student, parent, or legal guardian.

Supplemental Materials 

Supplemental content-related materials are selected to enrich and support the curriculum and to provide for the varied interests, abilities, and maturity levels of students. Supplemental materials are companion materials, equipment or supplies not directly related to adopted textbooks or electronic media. The selection of supplemental materials is a continuous process involving recommendations from faculty, administrators, parents, and students. The responsibility for coordinating the Frederick County Public Schools selection of and recommending purchases of supplemental materials rests with the principal. Supplemental materials may not be purchased with regular textbook account funds. Supplemental materials available other than through the normal selection and purchasing process shall be evaluated for acceptance on the same criteria as used for purchased materials. 

Health Education /Sensitive Topics Materials 

Health education materials for sensitive topics within the approved curriculum must be reviewed by appropriate school personnel and approved by the school board before purchase. 

When family life education materials that may be controversial are to be recommended to the school board for approval, the superintendent or designee will provide notice to the public through the local and/or school media that books or materials of this nature are to be considered for approval by the school board and will be available at a designated location(s) for review by interested citizens for a period of not less than two weeks. 

Parents have the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in any anti-bullying or suicide prevention program. Prior to the use of any such material, the parent of a child participating in such a program is provided written notice of the parent’s right to review the material and the right to excuse the child from participating in the part of such program utilizing such material.

Library Media Center Instructional Materials 

The selection of library media center materials is a continuous process involving recommendations from principals, supervisors, faculty, parents, legal guardians, students, and professional library media personnel. The responsibility for coordinating and recommending the selection and purchase of library media materials rests with licensed school library media personnel employed by the Frederick County School Board. 

The school library media center shall provide a collection of print and electronic media that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into account the varied interest, abilities, and maturity levels of the pupils being served. The collection should stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and ethical standards. The library media collection should include a balanced selection of materials representing varied cultures and religions and an equitable treatment of controversial issues. Care should be taken in the selection of materials to insure that the collection represents a variety and diversity of quality materials appropriate for the students and the curriculum. 

Text, electronic media and other materials should be selected in accordance with established needs and priorities to maintain a balanced, current collection, and to meet or exceed state and regional accreditation standards. Selection should be based upon preview by licensed school personnel, evaluative reviews in professionally prepared selection aids, or other appropriate recommendations. Text, electronic media and other materials available via the World Wide Web or through another alternative source shall be evaluated for acceptance on the same criteria as used for purchased materials. The principal shall approve of such alternative materials.

In addition, the following criteria should be considered in selecting materials: educational significance, contribution to the curriculum, reputation and significance of the author or producer, validity and currency, quality and variety of format, and value commensurate with cost and need. 

Request for Reconsideration of Materials 

The procedure to request a reconsideration of materials is described in Regulation 304R-C, Instruction- Steps for Reconsideration of Educational Materials and provides parents or legal guardians a consistent procedure for requesting reconsideration of books, audiovisuals, publications, or materials used with or presented to their children. 

Legal Reference(s): 
20 U.S.C. § 1232h.

Code of Virginia, Section(s) 2.2-2827, 18.2-390, 22.1-1, 22.1-16.8, 22.1-238, 22.1-253.13:7, and 22.1-241. 

8 VAC 20-720-160

Policy References: