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Escondido Union HSD  |  BP  5145.9  Students

Civil And Legal Rights And Responsibilities   

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Publications Code

This policy governs the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press by students of this district with respect to official school publications, a term which refers to material, produced by students in the journalism, yearbook or writing classes and distributed to the student body either free or for a fee.

Education Goals

It is the purpose of school publications, including newspapers and yearbooks, to further the achievement of three distinct educational goals, namely (1) to serve the entire school by reporting school activities; (2) to teach students of this district proper writing and other journalistic skills; and (3) to teach students of this district by practical experience the meaning of "freedom of speech and of the press" as that term is used in the United States and California Constitutions.

In order to meet the first two goals, the following guidelines shall be followed to the extent they do not conflict with the goal of teaching students of this district the meaning of "freedom of speech and of the press" as that term is used in the United States and California Constitutions.

1. A professionally trained adviser shall be provided each school newspaper and yearbook to teach journalistic performance including but not limited to:

a. Accurate and impartial news coverage.

b. Complete and objective reporting.

c. Well-researched, factual information supporting opinion in editorials.

d. A sound and ethical financial program through the advertisements published and through effective promotion and sales of any publications that are for sale.

e. Complete and meaningful photographic coverage of the school and its many programs.

f. Adequate distribution of the publications.

g. Effective evaluation of the publications by the advisers, editors, rating services and professional journalists.

2. Students shall be taught proper grammar, form and journalistic style commonly accepted in the community.

3. Students shall be taught how to convey their ideas and thoughts to others in a creative, journalistic manner.

4. Students on the newspaper, yearbook or other publications staff shall be given a vocational experience duplicating as much as possible that of one who works for a private publisher in the community.

In order to teach students of this district by practical experience the meaning of "freedom of speech and of the press" as that term is used in the United States and California Constitutions, the following guidelines shall be followed:

1. The official school publications, including the newspapers and yearbooks, shall operate under the United States and California Constitutions guaranteeing to each student of the district his/her individual freedom of speech and of the press. Only material constituting one or more of the following may be withheld from being published.

a. Libelous material.

b. Obscenity.

c. Expression which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, to violate lawful school regulations or to disrupt, substantially, the orderly operation of the school.

(The above items shall be referred to hereafter in this policy as "prohibited expression.")

2. Whenever a student's individual right of free speech conflicts irreconcilably with the district's goal of teaching proper writing and other journalistic skills, the student's right of free speech shall prevail.

3. In order to provide the students of this district the maximum opportunity to exercise their freedom of speech in the school newspapers and yearbooks, the school

newspapers and yearbooks shall not be a forum for free speech by anyone other than a student regularly enrolled in the schools of this district; nevertheless, commercial advertisements by nonstudents, announcements by school officials, and material authored by school district employees or other persons may be published at the discretion of the publication staff and adviser in order to further the primary goals of the publication.

4. Student editors of official school publications shall be responsible for assigning and editing the news, editorial and feature content of their publications subject to the limits imposed by prohibited expression.

5. However, it shall be the responsibility of a journalism adviser or advisers of student publications within each school to supervise the production of the student staff, to maintain professional standards of English and journalism and to maintain the provisions of this policy and of Education Code 48916.

In order to give each student of this district an equal opportunity to participate in the above-cited educational goals within the constraints of available financial resources, publication space and publication time deadlines, the following rules and regulations shall apply to all material submitted for publication:

1. All material must be submitted to one of the editors or to the adviser.

2. All material must be either typewritten or otherwise neatly written so as to be legible.

3. All material must be clearly identified by the author and must have the author's name on it.

4. All material must be submitted sufficiently prior to publication deadlines so as to allow for its publication. Deadlines for submission of material shall be made known to the students of the school in a manner reasonably sufficient to inform students who wish to submit material and at least 48 hours prior to the deadline.

Procedural Safeguards

Material submitted by a student of the district shall not be refused publication except in the manner provided below:

1. Any member of a publication's staff who has reason to believe that certain material scheduled for publication may constitute material described above shall bring this fact to the attention of the publication's faculty adviser.

2. The publication's faculty adviser shall review all material scheduled for publication. Whenever it is proposed to refuse to publish certain material scheduled for publication for any reason whatsoever, the publication's faculty adviser shall:

a. Contact the student submitting the material for publication and advise the student of:

(1) The proposed refusal and the reasons therefore:

(2) How the material may be made acceptable for publication; and

(3) His/her right to have published in its original form free speech which is protected by United States and California Constitutions even though it may not be grammatically or journalistically correct.

b. If no acceptable resolution is reached, meet with the student and representatives of the publication staff to review the matter.

c. If the student whose material is scheduled for publication chooses to exercise his/her constitutional right of free speech and have the material published in its original form, the adviser shall immediately:

(1) Order the material published in its original form when the refusal is solely based upon the materials' noncompliance with proper rules of grammar and journalistic style.

(2) Notify the school principal if it is suspected that any portion of the material may be a form of prohibited expression.

3. The school principal shall immediately:

a. Meet and confer, if possible, with the student and the parent/guardian to explain possible disciplinary action by the district in the event the material is published in its original form.

b. Hold other meetings, where the principal feels it is necessary, with one or more of the following: the adviser, the publication's staff, the parent/guardian, the student or other persons which may be involved to review the matter; and

c. Order the material published in its original form; or

d. If the principal suspects the material to be a form of prohibited expression, he/she shall notify the Superintendent.

4. The Superintendent shall immediately:

a. Review the matter with the assistance of County Counsel; and

b. Order the material published in its original form; or

(1) If the material is alleged to be obscene or expression which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, to violate lawful school regulations, or to disrupt, substantially, the orderly operation of the school, the Superintendent shall submit the matter to the Governing Board. The Board shall review the matter with the assistance of County Counsel and either order the material to be published in its original form or refuse to publish the material. The matter shall be decided at the Board's next regular meeting held after the Superintendent decides to submit the matter to the Board provided that sufficient time is available to include the matter as an agenda item on the legally required meeting agenda for the next regular meeting, or sufficient time is available to issue an addendum for the regular Board meeting.

In the event sufficient time is not available and the next regular meeting is not scheduled within 14 days; or, exigencies exist which necessitate a resolution of the matter in order to prevent an impairment of the student's right of free speech, then, a special Board meeting shall be called within 14 days.

(2) If any portion of the material is alleged to be libelous, the Superintendent shall submit the matter to a standing committee consisting of the Superintendent and two Board members selected by the Board to serve on the committee.

The standing committee shall immediately review the matter with the assistance of County Counsel and either order the material published in its original form or refuse to publish the material.

The following terms as used in the above-described procedure shall mean:

1. "Immediately" means within 24 hours, excluding all days during which school is not in session, provided that exigencies do not exist which necessitate an earlier resolution of the matter in order to prevent an impairment of the student's right of free speech. If an exigency exists, "immediately" means a reasonable amount of time less than 24 hours which will not impair the student's right of free speech.

If an action required to be taken or made within 24 hours is not taken or made, the student submitting the material for publication, the student's parent/guardian or legal representative may submit the matter to the next authority in line.

2. "Review the matter" means to ascertain all relevant facts and determine whether the material submitted for publication is free speech protected by the United States or California Constitutions. Factual issues in dispute shall be resolved by the reviewer after talking to individuals with firsthand knowledge of the facts to the extent time limitations permit. Only the items termed as prohibited expression are not protected free speech.

3. Factors to be used in determining whether the material submitted is any of the above types of unprotected speech include the following:

a. Libel:

(1) Is the material false?

(2) Does the material expose any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or cause one to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure one in one's occupation?

If the answer to each of the above two questions is "yes," the material is likely to be libelous. However, if the material is any of the following, it probably is privileged and protected free speech:

(a) A fair and true report of a judicial, legislative or other public official proceeding or anything said in the course thereof.

(b) A fair and true report of a verified charge or complaint made by any person to a public official, upon which complaint a warrant was issued.

(c) A fair and true report of the proceedings of a public meeting which was lawfully convened for a lawful purpose and open to the public.

(d) A fair and true report for the public benefit.

(e) A report about a public official or public figure of the school or commonly known in the school community which is not being published with knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of whether it is false or not.

b. Obscenity:

(1) Would the average student who is likely to witness the material, applying contemporary standards of the local community, find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to his/her prurient interest; i.e., a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex or excretion?

(2) Does the material depict or describe in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct?

If the answer to either or both of the questions posed above is "yes" and the material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value, it is probable that the material is not protected free speech.

c. "Expression which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, to violate lawful school regulations or to disrupt, substantially, the order operation of the school:"

(1) Is it imminent that the expression will cause conduct of a physical nature to be taken?

(2) Will the conduct of a physical nature be unlawful or a violation of lawful school regulations?

(3) Will the conduct of a physical nature occur on or adjacent to school premises?

(4) Will the physical action be substantial?

(5) Is it impossible to take preventive measures so that the physical action will not be substantial?

(6) Is it unreasonable to permit the conduct of a physical nature to occur and subsequently discipline the parties involved rather than prevent the publication of the material?

If the answer to each of the above questions is "yes," it is probable that the material is not protected free speech.

Education of Children Residing on Indian Land

It is the commitment of the district to provide a quality lifelong education for all individuals. This commitment extends to each and every student equally regardless of residence and includes equal access to all programs and facilities in a safe, harmonious environment.

1. It is the policy of the district that children residing on Indian land who are recognized by an Indian tribe as being affiliated with that tribe and who are students in the district participate in school programs on an equal basis with all other children educated in the district. Information regarding school programs and plans that affect the education of these children will be adequately disseminated to the tribes and the parents of the above described children.

2. The Board reaffirms that the tribes and parents of children who are recognized as being affiliated with that tribe will have an opportunity to present their views regarding the education of the children and make recommendations regarding the needs of the children.

3. The district will make a sincere effort to actively consult and involve the parents of children residing on Indian land regarding the planning and development of the educational program of the district.

4. Program Modifications for any or all students are accomplished using the procedures outlined in Board Policy BP 6000 and BP 6020.

5. The district will disseminate to each Tribal Council and each Indian Education Representative information on the processes for commend opportunity Board of Trustees and for communication with various district staff.

6. As Tribal Councils endeavor to assess the educational program being made available by the district, the district shall make available all data regularly collected, i.e., program evaluation data, general test scores, drop out and graduation rates, extracurricular participation rates, and disciplinary statistics.

Policy ESCONDIDO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: April 28, 1998 Escondido, California