School officials are wondering how to deal with a new state law that gives parents veto power over what their children are being taught.
The law took effect earlier this month when the Legislature overrode Gov. John Lynch's veto of House Bill 542.
The law requires school districts to adopt policies allowing parents to object to any material their child is learning. Several superintendents said yesterday they are consulting with school board members to put policies in place.
Tonight, Salem Superintendent Michael Delahanty said he will explain the new law to the town's School Board.
"It is something I would have liked them to have familiarity with before I bring back proposed policies," Delahanty said.
Last week, the Timberlane Regional School Board started considering its own policy, Superintendent Richard La Salle said. The board's policy committee will consider the matter further Feb. 16.
Delahanty, La Salle and other local superintendents said it's not unusual for a parent to object to the teaching of a topic such as sexual education.
In those cases, the districts work with the parent to resolve the issue, which can mean the student does not participate in discussion of the subject, the superintendents said.
Parents sometimes object to their children reading certain books, such as "Catcher in the Rye."
District policies usually involve a panel reviewing the parent's request and determining how to proceed. The student is often given a different book to read, the superintendents said.
But the new law is so broad, school officials said they are not sure how they should draft their policies. They are also concerned that complying with the law could become an administrative nightmare.
"It does raise a number of questions," Londonderry school Superintendent Nate Greenberg said. "If you look at it, it could create major problems."