Welcome to Lakeland Schools

5136 Student Publications and Expression

Adoption Date: 04/19/1995, Revised: 11/21/2013
5000 - Students
5136 Student Publications and Expression

Students shall enjoy the constitutional right of freedom of expression, in speech, writing or through any other medium or form, limited only by those restrictions imposed on all citizens generally and those specifically applicable to children and youth in a public school setting.

The Board of Education encourages student expression in its many forms, including the school newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, concerts, shows, art exhibits etc. The Board believes these activities are an important part of student learning and enrich the life of the school community. Student publications, for example, offer educational activities through which students gain experience in reporting, writing, editing, and understanding responsible journalism. They also provide an opportunity for students to express their views in a responsible manner and offer a means of communicating both within and beyond the school community.  Each school-sponsored activity offers unique opportunities for students to engage in creative and educational modes of expression.

All school-sponsored opportunities for student expression will comply with the rules set forth in this policy and in the Code of Conduct. All student publications will comply with rules for responsible journalism. Libelous statements, unfounded charges and accusations, obscenity, false statements; materials or performances advocating racial, religious or other prejudice, hatred, violence, the breaking of laws and school policies and/or regulations, or materials or activities designed to disrupt the educational process will not be permitted. 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.

In addition, the school-sponsored activities listed above which are paid for by the School District and/or produced under the direction of a teacher or other advisor as part of the school curriculum are not considered public forums. In such cases, the Board reserves the right to edit or delete such student expression which it believes is inconsistent with the district’s basic educational mission.

Procedural Due Process
When a student(s) presents material for inclusion in a school sponsored publication to a school official with authority over the school publication, the school official must review and make a decision on inclusion in the publication within two (2) school days of submission of the material to him/her. If publication is denied, the student(s) may appeal the decision to the Building Principal. If the principal agrees with the decision to withhold approval, the principal must state the reasons in writing and provide the students with a copy of the reasons within two (2) school days of the receipt of the appeal. The aggrieved student(s) may within two (2) school days appeal in writing to the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent must issue a written decision within two (2) school days after receiving the appeal.

Distribution of Literature
Students have a right to distribute school related 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 in advance, to the building principal.

Policy References:
Morse v. Frederick, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007)
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, ¬484 US 260, 108 S. Ct. 562, (1988) (limits on student free speech rights in school-sponsored student publications)
Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 US 675 (1986)
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 US 503, (1969) (limits on student free speech rights in school setting)
Thomas v. Board of Education, Granville Central School Dist., 607 F. 2d 1043 (1979)
Trachtman v. Anker, et al., 563 F 2d 512 (1977)
Frasca v. Andrew et al., 463 F Supp 1043 (1979)
Matter of Beil and Scariati, 26 EDR 109 (1986)

Policy Cross References:
5144.2 - Code of School Conduct and Discipline