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Sweetwater Un HSD |  AR  5151  Students

Equal Access For Student Meetings   

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Definitions

As used in this regulation, the terms listed below shall have the meanings indicated:

Limited Open Forum - The term "limited open forum" applies whenever the district/school provides for use of buildings and/or grounds by non-school groups during non-instructional time.

Meetings - The term "meeting" includes those activities of student groups, which are permitted under the district/school limited open forum and are not directly related to the school curriculum.

Sponsorship - The term "sponsorship" includes the act of promotion, 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.

Noninstructional Time - The term "non-instructional time" means time set aside by the school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction ends. The lunch or nutrition break period is considered not to be within the instructional time.

Conditions/Constraints

By Board policy 5172, the Board of Trustees has provided for the establishment of a limited open forum at each school site, thereby permitting students to meet on campus during non-instructional time for non-sponsored, student initiated religious, political, social/ cultural, or philosophical discussions. In implementing the limited open forum policy, the following guidelines shall apply:

1. Rights conferred by the Equal Access Act apply to students only, therefore activities and meetings shall be student- initiated and voluntary.

2. School authorities or district employees shall not sponsor, promote, lead, or participate in such meetings.

3. No non-school person shall direct, conduct, or control activities of student groups meeting within the limited public forum. However, non-school persons may attend, provided they do not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend the meeting.

4. For insurance purposes, appropriate school employees as designated by the principal shall be available on campus while meetings are in session.

5. No school agent or employee shall be compelled to attend if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the agent or employee.

6. The meeting shall not, in any way, interfere with the orderly conduct of regular instructional activities of the school.

7. There shall be no expenditure of district funds beyond the incidental cost of providing space for student-initiated meetings.

8. Groups of students shall not be required to have a specified numerical size.

9. Meetings shall not abridge the rights of any individual or be otherwise unlawful.

10. Groups of students meeting pursuant to the limited open forum provisions shall not use the name of a school to identify themselves.

11. There shall be no activity by school agents/employees to influence the forum or content of any prayer or other religious/political activity.

12. Meetings shall be scheduled prior to beginning of classroom instruction or immediately following the end of classroom instruction.

13. Students shall leave the classroom or other facilities used for such meeting in a clean, orderly, and secure condition.

Responsibilities

Students:

1. Students who wish to meet for religious, political, philosophical discussion shall make written application to their respective site principal for use of a classroom or other facility.

2. Such application shall indicate:

a. Purpose of the meeting.

b. Chairperson or spokesperson of the group.

c. Outside resource person, guest, if any.

d. Date/time of planned meeting.

e. Staff member who has volunteered to attend the meeting, if any.

3. Rights and responsibilities under the First Amendment and California State law are covered in Board policy 5145.2 and implementing regulations.

4. In planning and conducting such meetings, students must be fully aware of all conditions/constraints and ensure they are met.

Principal or his/her designee shall:

1. Designate rooms available for limited open forum use.

2. Establish day and time restrictions.

3. Assist in preparation of and carefully review contents of the application.

4. Allow requesting students to meet, providing all conditions enumerated in paragraph B., are met.

5. Assign space on first-come-first-serve basis.

6. Ensure a staff member is present during the meeting.

7. Ensure conditions regarding conduct of the meeting are met.

8. Periodically report number, type, and results of such meetings to the director of student personnel services.

9. Ensure meeting room is left in clean, secure condition.

Regulation SWEETWATER UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: November 17, 2008 Chula Vista, California