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Tamalpais Union HSD |  AR  5145.2  Students

Freedom Of Speech/Expression: Publications Code   

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Students are prohibited from making any expressions or distributing or posting any materials which are obscene, libelous or slanderous, or which demonstrably incite students to commit unlawful acts on school premises, to violate school rules, or to substantially disrupt the school's orderly operation. (Education Code 48907)

Conduct by a student, in class or out of it, which for any reason materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of free speech. (Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969) 393 U.S. 503)

The use of "fighting words" or epithets is not constitutionally protected where:

1. The speech, considered objectively, is abusive and insulting rather than a communication of ideas, and

2. The speech is actually used in an abusive manner in a situation that presents an actual danger that it will cause a breach of the peace. (Collin v. Smith 1978) 447 F. Supp. 676, affd. (1978) 578 F. 2d 1197, cert. den. (1978) 439 &.S. 916)

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

Students shall be free to post or distribute handbills, leaflets, and other printed matrial, whether produced within or outside of the school. Students may collect signatures on petitions concerning either school or out-of-school issues.

All printed matter and petitions distributed, circulated or posted on school property shall bear the name and the address or contact location of the sponsoring organization or individual.

Printed materials or petitions may be distributed only:

1. Before school begins, during lunch time, or after dismissal.

2. In locations that do not obstruct the normal flow of traffic within school or at entrances.

3. Without undue noise.

No student shall use coercion to induce students or any other persons to accept printed matter or to sign petitions. No funds or donations shall be collected for any material distributed.

Students violating any of these regulations are subject to disciplinary action.

(cf. 5144 - Student Discipline Policy and Procedures)

Clothing/Buttons and Badges

Buttons, badges, armbands or clothing bearing slogans or sayings may be worn unless their message falls within the categories prohibited above. No teacher or administrator shall interfere with this practice on the grounds that the message may be unpopular with students or faculty.

(cf. 5132 - Dress and Grooming)

(cf. 5136 - Gangs)

Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards may be provided where students and student organizations may post materials of general interest.

Appeals - General

The following procedures shall be used to address disputes regarding student freedom of expression, other than those involving student publications:

1. The student and faculty member shall first attempt to resolve the problem by themselves.

2. If the student and faculty member are unable to resolve the dispute, the student and/or faculty member may bring the matter to the principal or designee, who shall hear both sides and strive to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

3. If the principal or designee is unable to resolve the dispute, the student and/or faculty member may bring the matter to the Superintendent or designee, who shall hear both sides and strive to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, and, if necessary, come to a decision. The Superintendent's decision shall be final.

Official School Publications

Official school publications are materials produced by students in the journalism, newspaper, yearbook, or writing classes and distributed to the student body either free or for a fee.

Responsibilities of Student Editors

Student editors shall:

1. assign and edit the news and be responsible for the editorial and feature content of their publications;

2. submit copy that conforms to good journalistic writing style;

3. rewrite stories, as required by the journalism advisor, to improve journalistic structure, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation;

4. check facts and verify quotes;

5. in the case of editorials on controversial issues, provide space for rebuttals, in the same issue if possible, but otherwise no later than the following issue.

School Publications Advisors

1. Official school publications advisors shall have the primary responsibility of supervising each publication, prior to its publication, to determine if it satisfies all the conditions of these guidelines.

2. The school principal or designee may review copy prior to its publication, upon reasonable belief that it violates these guidelines; however, such copy must be returned to the student editors within 24 hours after it is submitted for review.

3. No copy shall be censored except for reasons specifically listed in these guidelines.

4. No prior restraint of material prepared for school publications shall occur unless such material violates these guidelines.

5. Without undue delay school officials have the burden of showing justification prior to any limitation of student expression under these guidelines.

Publications Board

1. In the event a disagreement arises as to whether an article should be printed, each school may have a publications board, which shall meet within 24 hours to review the article and submit its recommendations to the Superintendent or designee.

2. The publications board may consist of the principal or designee, the journalism advisor, a student representative from an official school publication, a representative from student government, a representative from the PTA (or other parent group).

3. The Superintendent or designee may render his/her decision within 24 hours of receipt of the publications board's recommendation. The Superintendent's decision is final.


approved: June 8, 1993 Larkspur, California