Series: Series5000     Sub Series: 5000     Policy Number: 5220


All material published in school-sponsored publications by a student extra-classroom activity organization operating within the guidelines for such organizations must have the prior approval of the Faculty Advisor and the final approval of the Building Principal.  The District reserves the right to exercise final editorial responsibility over the style and content of student writing in school-sponsored publications.  

Students, through the various mass media, are exposed to diverse opinions on an infinite number of topics. Students who have facts and opinions should be allowed to express them in print as well as through conversation. However, student editors and writers must observe the same legal responsibilities as those imposed upon conventional newspapers and news media.

All student publications will comply with the rules for responsible journalism. Libelous statements, unfounded charges and accusations, obscenity, false statements, materials advocating racial or religious prejudice, hatred, violence, the breaking of laws and school policies and/or regulations, or materials designed to disrupt the educational process will not be permitted. Thus, no student shall distribute in any school any school publication which:

1. is obscene as to minors according to current legal definitions;

2. is libelous according to current legal definitions; or

3. creates a material and substantial disruption of the normal school activity or appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.

Expressions of personal opinion must be clearly identified as such, and bear the name of the author. Opportunity for the expression of opinions differing from those of the student publishers must be provided.

Sponsorships for organizational, business, and personal messages may be solicited and published with the same oversight by the Building Principal and the Faculty Advisor, as outlined previously.  The content of sponsored messages must be consistent with the Board of Education's Code of Conduct - Policy #5300, as well as any other pertinent Board policy.  Organizational, business, and personal messages should not be political or otherwise partisan in nature, unless they adhere to the provision of balance and equal access to both aspects of an issue or a service.  

The High School Newspaper

The high school newspaper, while it is a student newspaper, directed and edited by students, is usually regarded by the public at large as representative of the school district as a whole. The newspaper, therefore, will never be used to advance a selfish interest of any group or clique of students and/or faculty; or to attack individuals or groups. In addition, the rules stated above for student publications in general shall apply to the high school newspaper.

Students shall understand that the high school newspaper is in no way a freelance publication. They shall recognize the Board and the school administration as the publisher and that, in the final analysis, the responsibility for the proper conduct of the school newspaper rests with the publisher.

Students shall also understand that the newspaper editor and staff occupy positions which possess the power to injure individuals and institutions and that their actions at all times will be conditioned by restraint, a strong sense of responsibility, and an extreme care for accuracy.

For all editorials, in-depth stories, signed letters, and other newspaper articles which may be considered for publication in the school newspaper, the following guidelines will apply:

1. All pertinent, available facts that can be produced from all sources must be obtained before anything is written or published.

2. If all the facts cannot be gathered in time to meet a publication’s deadline, the editorial, in-depth story, signed letter, or other article will be held until such time as that information can be obtained or the copy will not be published at all.

3. The question of the appropriateness of the time to write or publish the above mentioned articles will be thoughtfully and carefully considered. Counsel will be sought from the advisor and/or school officials involved in each case.

Distribution of Literature

Students have a right to distribute literature on school grounds and in school buildings provided such distribution does not interfere with or disrupt the educational process. No literature may be distributed unless a copy is submitted and approved for distribution in advance to the Building Principal.

The Principal shall establish guidelines that are in keeping with the above and shall provide for the review of the content of all student publications prior to their distribution.

District Reference:

General Reference:

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 US 260, 108 S Ct 562 (1988) 
Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 US 675 (1986)
Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Community School Dist., 393 US 503, (1969)
Thomas v. Board of Education, Granville Central School Dist., 607 F 2d 1043 (1979)
Trachtman v. Anker, et al., 563 F 2d 512 (1977)
Eisner v. Stamford Board of Education, 314 F Supp 832, modf'd. 440 F2d 803 (1971)
Frasca v. Andrew et al., 463 F Supp 1043 (1979)
Matter of Beil and Scariati, 26 EDR 109(1986) 

Adoption Date:

Last Revised:

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