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5722 AdmGuide_School Publications_Productions

It is the policy of the Board of Education to strive to protect its students’ rights to freedom of expression. The
student newspaper and yearbook, the School Web site, all classroom newspapers and other official, school-
sponsored publications and productions ("publications") within the School District shall serve as educational tools,
as media for reporting school events, as means of expression for 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. To
ensure legitimate pedagogical interests the Board and/or the administrative staff of the particular school where
publication occurs, reserve the right to prevent publication of any "prohibited material" (as defined below), as well
as to take disciplinary actions subsequent to publication of prohibited material.
    A. Responsibilities of Students
        Students who work on official student publications may determine the content of those publications and are
        responsible for that content. These students should:
            1. Determine the content of the student publication;
            2. Strive to produce a publication based upon professional standards of accuracy, objectivity, and fair play;
            3. Review material to improve sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation;
            4. Check and verify all facts and verify the accuracy of all quotations;
            5. In the case of editorials or letters to the editor concerning controversial issues, determine the need for
                rebuttal comments and opinions and provide space therefore if appropriate.
    B. Staff Responsibilities
        The duties of administrative staff including, but not limited to, the faculty advisor and assistant advisors shall
        be to:
            1. Serve in a liaison capacity between the staffs of the publications and the faculty and administrators;
            2. Establish criteria and standards by which students can assess the quality of their production and their
            3. Instruct members of the publication or production staffs in proper journalistic, literacy, and theatrical
            4. Advise, suggest and edit when appropriate;
            5. Review material to determine if it constitutes prohibited material; and
            6. Interpret these guidelines.
    C. Prohibited Material
            1. Students cannot publish material that is "obscene as to minors." "Minor" means any person under the
                age of eighteen (18). Material is "obscene as to minors" when the:
                    a. average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken
                        as a whole, appeals to a minor’s prurient interest in sex; and
                    b. material depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct (normal or perverted);
                    c. material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
        2. Students cannot publish material that is profane, lewd, indecent or offensive, including slurs or related
            expression based on race, religion, gender, disability, or any other legally protected class.
        3. Students cannot publish "libelous" material. Libelous statements are those that are false and unprivileged
            and that do demonstrable injury to a specific individual’s or specific business’ reputation in the community.
        4. Students cannot publish 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."
        5. Students cannot publish or distribute material that invades the privacy of another person or endangers the
            health or safety of another person.
    D. Review of Potentially Prohibited Material
        If, in the opinion of the student editor, student editorial staff or faculty adviser, material proposed for
        publication may constitute prohibited material, the material must be submitted to the principal at the
        particular school in question at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the printer’s deadline for publication. If
        permission to publish is denied, the reasons for denial will be provided in writing to the student editor.
        Students have the right to appeal decisions to the Superintendent.
        Questions regarding whether material constitutes prohibited material should be directed to the faculty advisor.
    E. Yearbook Pictures
        The faculty yearbook advisor and assistant advisors shall inform students that if the school district contracts
        with a person or company to provide photographs of twelfth grade students for a school yearbook, the
        contract may not prohibit a student from supplying his/her own photograph for the yearbook, subject to the
        reasonable specifications. Pictures or symbols that are obscene, libelous, or offensive to good taste are
This policy also applies to nonschool-sponsored publications generated on school grounds.
Advertising is constitutionally protected expression. School publications may accept advertising. Acceptance or
rejection of advertising is within the purview of the publication staff, who may accept any advertisements except
those containing prohibited material or those for products or services that are not permitted to minors by law.
Political ads may be accepted. The publication should not accept advertisements on only one (1) side of an issue
or election.
Approved/Adopted:  July 13, 2009
Sharon Weinstock,
Aug 1, 2011, 8:07 AM