topleft CSBA.org >  Services >  Governance Technology > 

Santa Cruz City Schools |  BP  1112  Community Relations

Media Relations   

arrow Previous bar Next arrow

The Governing Board respects the public's rights to information and recognizes that the media 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.

Media representatives, like all other visitors, shall register immediately upon entering any school building or grounds when school is in session.

Staff may provide the media with student directory information, including, but not limited to, the name of a student, school of attendance, grade level, honors, and activities, unless the student's guardian/parent has submitted a written request that such information not be disclosed. The district shall not release information that is private or confidential as required by law, Board Policy or administrative regulation. No other access to student records or personally identifiable student information may be provided without written parent/guardian permission.

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 students' education program. However, interviews of students may not create substantial disorder or impinge upon 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.

In order to protect the privacy and safety of students, a media representative who wishes to photograph students on school grounds must 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.

The plan shall specify the district's and/or site's primary media contact through whom media inquiries to staff shall be routed. When a Board Member speaks to the media on behalf of the district, such Board Member shall have Board authorization to do so. This policy does not prevent an individual Trustee from speaking to the media on his/her own behalf.

The Superintendent or designee shall provide training on effective media relations to all designated spokespersons.

Crisis Communications Plan

During a disturbance or crisis situation, the first priority of the 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.

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.

Faculty and Staff Communications

Faculty and Staff shall not be prohibited from speaking with the media so long as the communications do not disrupt school operations or instruction and so long as they do not inappropriately attempt to represent their views as the views of the school district.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

32210-32212 Willful disturbance of public school or meeting

35144 Special meetings

35145 Public meetings

35160 Authority of governing boards

35172 Promotional activities

EVIDENCE CODE

1070 Refusal to disclose news source

PENAL CODE

627-627.10 Access to school premises

COURT DECISIONS

Lopez v. Tulare Joint Union High School District (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th1302

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS

95 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 509 (1996)

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

911: A Manual for Schools and the Media During a Campus Crisis, 2001

WEB SITES:

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

Policy SANTA CRUZ CITY SCHOOLS

adopted: May 12, 2010 Soquel, California