No, it’s not a new development. It has been the policy, at least on paper, of the Mount Vernon Board of Education to allow the teaching of controversial issues.
The following is the board’s “Controversial Issues” policy followed by the administrative guidelines for “Controversial Issues in the Classroom”:
Policy 2240 - Controversial Issues
The Board of Education believes that the consideration of controversial issues has a legitimate place in the instructional program of the schools.
Properly introduced and conducted, the consideration of such issues can help students learn to identify important issues, explore fully and fairly all sides of an issue, weigh carefully the values and factors involved, and develop techniques for formulating and evaluating positions.
For purposes of this policy, a controversial issue is a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion.
Controversial issues related to the program may be initiated by the students themselves provided they are presented in the ordinary course of classroom instruction and it is not substantially disruptive to the educational setting.