The student newspaper and yearbook, the school and District website, all classroom newspapers and other official, school-sponsored publications and performance productions and other forms of expression that the public may reasonably perceive to be endorsed by the District shall serve as educational tools, as media for reporting school events, as means of expression of students, as forums for discourse of issues, and as sources of entertainment and enlightenment.
While student publications are protected by the First Amendment that protection is not without limitations. The Superintendent, and/or the administrative staff of the particular school where publication occurs, reserve the right to prevent publication of certain prohibited material (as outlined below), as well as to take disciplinary actions subsequent to publication of prohibited material.
Expression in school publications is subject to editorial control by the District and/or school designee over the style and content so long as the District’s actions are reasonably related to legitimate editorial control.
These actions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. ensuring that participants learn whatever lessons the activity is designed to teach;
2. ensuring that readers or listeners are not exposed to material that may be inappropriate for their level of maturity;
3. ensuring that the views of the individual speaker are not erroneously attributed to the school;
4. ensuring that the school is not associated with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy;
5. ensuring that the sponsored student speech cannot reasonably be perceived to advocate conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order;
6. ensuring that the school is not associated with expression that is, for example, ungrammatical, poorly written, inadequately researched, biased or prejudiced, vulgar or profane, or unsuitable for immature audiences.
7. ensuring that the publication is held to the same standards and expectations of any other journalistic outlet.
The standards of objectivity, integrity, and ethics are subject to administrative analysis and review. The final authorizing party shall be the administrative team of the District.
The Superintendent may develop guidelines concerning what the District considers prohibited material. Those guidelines shall, at a minimum, prohibit the publication of:
A. material obscene to minors;
B. profane, lewd, indecent or offensive, including slurs or related expression based on race, religion, gender, disability, or any other legally protected class;
C. defamatory material;
D. material that presents a clear and present likelihood that it will cause “a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation of the school or of school activities;”
E. material that invades the privacy of another person or endangers the health or safety of another person.
The Board also prohibits publications that:
A. fail to identify the student or organization responsible for distribution;
B. solicit funds for commercial interest or non-school organizations or institutions when such solicitations have not been approved by the Superintendent;
C. promote, favor, or oppose any candidate for election to the Board or the adoption of any bond issue, proposal, or question submitted at any election.
Students will be permitted to distribute publications at school as follows:
1. Physical distribution will not occur during class hours.
2. Publications may be distributed in locations so as not to interfere with the normal flow of traffic within the school hallways, walkways, entryways and parking lots. Distribution will not impede entrance to or exit from school premises in any way.
3. No one will induce or coerce a student or staff member to accept a student publication.
The decision to publish or produce something shall be made by the advisor with appeal to the school principal and then the Superintendent.
Advertising may be permitted in school publications as determined by the Superintendent.