Riverside USD | BP 1112 Community Relations
The Board of Education respects the public's right to information and recognizes that the media can significantly influence the community's understanding of school programs. In order to develop and maintain positive media relations, the Board and the Superintendent desire to reasonably accommodate media requests for information and to provide accurate, reliable and timely information.
Media representatives are welcome at all Board meetings and shall receive meeting agendas upon request in accordance with Board policy.
(cf. 9322 - Agenda/Meeting Materials)
The Superintendent, designee or the district's spokesperson shall coordinate the release of information concerning the district and the actions of the Board.
Media representatives, like all other visitors, shall register immediately upon entering any school building or grounds when school is in session.
(cf. 1250 - Visitors/Outsiders)
(cf. 3515.2 - Disruptions)
The district shall not release information that is private or confidential as required by law, Board policy or administrative regulation. No access to student records or personally identifiable student information may be provided without written parent/guardian permission.
(cf. 1340 - Access to District Records)
(cf. 4119.23/4219.23/4319.23 - Unauthorized Release of Confidential/Privileged Information)
(cf. 5125 - Student Records)
(cf. 5125.1 - Release of Directory Information)
(cf. 9010 - Public Statements)
(cf. 9321.1 - Closed Session Actions and Reports)
Interviewing and Photographing Students
The district shall not impose restraints on students' right to speak freely with media representatives at those times which do not disrupt a student's educational program. However, interviews of students may not create substantial disorder or impinge on the rights of others. Therefore, in order to minimize possible disruption, media representatives who wish to interview students at school are strongly encouraged to make prior arrangements with the principal. At their discretion, parents/guardians may instruct their children not to communicate with media representatives.
(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)
In order to protect the privacy and safety of students, a media representative who wishes to photograph students on school grounds should first make arrangements with the principal or designee.
When interviewing or photographing a special education student, he/she shall not be identified as a special education student without prior, written parent/guardian permission.
Media Communications Plan
In order to help develop strong relations with the media, the Superintendent or designee shall develop a proactive media communications plan. This plan may include, but not be limited to, information related to district programs and needs, student awards, school accomplishments and events of special interest.
(cf. 0510 - School Accountability Report Card)
(cf. 1100 - Communication with the Public)
(cf. 1160 - Political Processes)
The plan shall specify the district's and/or site's primary media contact to whom all media inquiries shall be routed. Spokespersons designated to speak to the media on behalf of the district include the Board president, Superintendent and public information officer. Other Board members and staff may be asked by the Superintendent or designee to speak to the media on a case-by-case basis, depending on their expertise on an issue.
The Superintendent or designee shall provide training on effective media relations to all designated spokespersons.
(cf. 9240 - Board Training)
Crisis Communications Plan
During a disturbance or crisis situation, the first priority of school staff is to assure the safety of students and staff. However, the Board recognizes the need to provide timely and accurate information to parents/guardians and the community during a crisis. The Board also recognizes that the media have an important role to play in relaying this information to the public. In order to help ensure that the media and district work together effectively, the Superintendent or designee shall develop a crisis communications plan to identify communication strategies to be taken in the event of a crisis.
(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)
(cf. 3516 - Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness Plan)
The crisis communications plan may include but not be limited to identification of a media center location, development of both internal and external notification systems, and strategies for press conference logistics.
The Superintendent or designee shall include local law enforcement and media representatives in the crisis planning process.
The principal or the district's spokesperson shall, upon request, provide the media with the information related to district programs and needs, including information about student awards, school accomplishments, and events of special interest.
Spokespersons designated to speak to the media on behalf of the district include the Board president, Superintendent and Director of Communications and Public Information.
Other Board members and staff may be asked by the Superintendent or designee to speak to the media on a case-by-case basis, depending on their expertise on an issue and their communications skills.
During crisis situations, all media inquiries shall be routed to the Superintendent or the district's spokesperson, who shall:
1. Prepare an official statement responding to the particular situation.
2. Update the official statement as events unfold.
3. Keep staff, students and families well informed.
The district shall not release information which is private or confidential as identified by law and Board policy or administrative regulation.
News Coverage of Board Meetings
Representatives of all news media are invited to attend all public meetings of the Board of Education. Meeting announcements and agendas for reach meeting, and other related supporting documents, shall be furnished to newspapers and other news media which communicate within the school district.
Members of the Board, the Superintendent, administrators, and others as may be necessary, shall be available for interview by press representatives.
In dealing with the press, the school system shall be frank and open, recognizing the privilege of the press to publish newsworthy information.
As provided by law, representatives of the media, as well as all other persons not specifically required to attend, shall be excluded from closed sessions of the Board.
The Superintendent or designee shall be the press liaison person for coordinating the release of information concerning the school system and actions of the Board of Education.
The principal or a designee of each school shall be responsible for maintaining a liaison with the Superintendent for the dissemination of information relating to the school.
The Superintendent shall counsel with school personnel concerning the most effective means of disseminating information and about the sources, validity and presentation of such information.
The use of all communication media to keep the public continuously informed concerning schools, operating costs, curriculum, changes, expansion, special events, and other items of public interest is encouraged.
Good relationships with publishers, editors, and reporters are vital not only to the best school interests, but in the best interest of the public, who need to be accurately informed.
32210-32212 Willful disturbance of public school or meeting
35144 Special meetings
35145 Public meetings
35160 Authority of Governing Boards
35172 Promotional activities
1070 Refusal to disclose news source
627-627.10 Access to school premises
Lopez v. Tulare Joint Union High School District, (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1302
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS
95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 509 (1996)
911: A Manual for Schools and the Media During a Campus Crisis, 2001
Policy RIVERSIDE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
adopted: June 26, 2018 Riverside, California