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Escondido Union HSD  |  AR  6145.5  Instruction

Student Organizations And Equal Access   

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School-sponsored student organizations must be organized at the school, have a certificated advisor, be composed completely of current student body members and be approved by the Superintendent or designee in accordance with Board policy. They shall hold the majority of their meetings at school and have a democratic plan for the selection of members. Organization activities shall not conflict with the authority and responsibilities of school officials.

The Superintendent or designee shall not deny any student-initiated group access to school facilities during non-instructional time on the basis of religious, political, philosophical or any other content to be addressed at such meetings. The Superintendent or designee shall provide for a limited open forum on non-instructional time so that any such meetings do not interfere with regular school activities.

The Superintendent or designee shall identify the non-instructional time period(s) set aside for limited open forum meetings before or after actual classroom instruction times.

The Superintendent or designee shall insure that student meetings are voluntary, with no direction, control or regular attendance by non-school persons, and that students leave the meeting place in a clean, orderly and secure condition after their meetings.

School staff shall not promote or participate in these meetings, but may be assigned voluntarily to observe them for purposes of maintaining order and protecting student safety.

Meetings held within the limited open forum shall entail no expenditure of public funds beyond the incidental cost of providing the meeting space. Any announcement of meetings shall clearly state that the group is not sponsored by the school or school staff. Such announcements may be posted in accordance with Board policy and state law applicable to all students, but students shall not use the school's equipment or public address system to publicize the meetings of groups not sponsored by the school.

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)


Denial of Equal Access Prohibited

(a) Restriction of limited open forum on basis of religious, political, philosophical or other speech content prohibited

It shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.

(b) "Limited open forum" defined

A public secondary school has a limited open forum whenever such school grants an offering to or opportunity for one or more non-curriculum related student groups to meet on school premises during non-instructional time.

(c) Fair opportunity criteria

School shall be deemed to offer a fair opportunity to students who wish to conduct a meeting within its limited open forum if such school uniformly provides that -

(1) the meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;

(2) there is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school, the government, or its agents or employees;

(3) employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious meetings only in a non-participatory capacity;

(4) the meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school; and

(5) nonschool persons may not direct, conduct, control or regularly attend activities of student groups.

(d) Construction of subchapter with respect to certain rights

Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof -

(1) to influence the form or content of any prayer or religious activity;

(2) to require any person to participate in prayer or other religious activity;

(3) to expend public funds beyond the incidental cost of providing the space for student-initiated meetings;

(4) to compel any school agent or employee to attend a school meeting if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the agent or employee;

(5) to sanction meetings that are otherwise unlawful;

(6) to limit the rights of groups of students which are not of a specified numerical size; or

(7) to abridge the constitutional rights of any person.

(e) Federal financial assistance to schools unaffected

Notwithstanding the availability of any other remedy under the Constitution or the laws of the United States, nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the United States to deny or withhold federal financial assistance in any school.

(f) Authority of schools with respect to order, discipline, well-being and attendance concerns

Nothing in this title shall be construed to limit the authority of the school, its agents or employees, to maintain order and discipline on school premises, to protect the well being of students and faculty, and to assure that attendance of students at meetings is voluntary.


As used in this title -

(1) The term "secondary school" means a public school, which provides secondary education as determined by State law.

(2) The term "sponsorship" includes the act of promoting, leading, or participating in a meeting. The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for custodial purposes does not constitute sponsorship of the meeting.

(3) The term "meeting" includes those activities of student groups, which are permitted under a school's limited open forum and are not directly related to the school curriculum.

(4) The term "non-instructional time" means time set aside by the school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction ends.


If any provision of this title or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is judicially determined to be invalid, the provisions of the remainder of the title and the application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.


The provisions of this title shall supersede all other provisions of federal law that are inconsistent with the provisions of this title.


approved: June 4, 2002 Escondido, California