502.3 Student Expression and Student Publications
It is the goal of the district to protect the educational environment for all students to help ensure it is free from substantial disruption or infringement upon their rights. Student expression should be appropriate to help ensure that the students learn and meet the goals of the school activity and that the potential audience is not exposed to material that may be harmful or inappropriate for their level of maturity.
While students will generally be allowed to express their viewpoints and opinions, in certain qualifying circumstances, student speech may require administrative regulation to help ensure the safety and welfare of the school community. The district may regulate speech that: causes or is reasonably anticipated to cause a material and substantial disruption to the education environment; infringes upon the rights of others; is obscene or lewd; is school sponsored; and/or promotes illegal activity. The administration, when making this judgment, will consider whether the activity in which the expression was made is school-sponsored and whether review or prohibition of the students’ speech furthers an educational purpose. The expression must be done in a reasonable time, place, and manner that is not disruptive to the orderly and efficient operation of the school district.
The superintendent or designee may develop procedures for safely addressing qualifying types of mass protests by students, including walk-ins and walk-outs. Walk-ins occur when students leave their learning environments during school hours and gather in a group or groups with the purpose of promoting a belief or beliefs. Walk-outs occur when students leave their learning environments during school hours and gather in a group or groups off district property with the purpose of promoting a belief or beliefs.
The superintendent is encouraged to obtain feedback from community stakeholders in the development of these procedures. The goal of the procedures shall be to address student safety, maintain the education environment and promote communication during demonstrations while remaining viewpoint neutral.
Students who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary measures. Employees are responsible for helping to ensure students’ expression is in keeping with this policy. It is the responsibility of the superintendent to develop administrative regulations regarding this policy.
Students may produce official school publications as part of the curriculum under the supervision of a faculty advisor and the principal. Official school publications include material produced in journalism, newspaper, yearbook, or writing classes and distributed to the student body either free or for a fee.
Any expression made by students, including student expression in official school publications, is not an expression of official school policy. The school district, the board, and the employees or officials are
not liable in any civil or criminal action for any student expression made or published by students unless the employees or officials have interfered with or altered the content of the student speech or expression. The liability, if any, is only to the extent of the interference or alteration of the speech or expression.
Official school publications are free from prior restraint by employees or officials except as provided by law. A faculty advisor will supervise student writers to maintain professional standards of English and journalism and to comply with the law including, but not limited to, the restrictions against unlawful speech. The production of official school publications is guided by the law and by the ethical standards adopted by professional associations or societies of journalism.
Persons, other than students, who believe they have been aggrieved by student expression in a student-produced official school publication will follow the grievance procedure outlined in board policy 213.1. Students who believe their freedom of expression in a student-produced official school publication has been restricted will follow the grievance procedure outlined in board policy 502.4.
The superintendent is responsible for developing a student publications code. This code will include, but not be limited to, reasonable rules including time, place, and manner of restrictions. The superintendent will also be responsible for distributing this policy and the student publications code to the students and their parents.
U.S. Const. amend. I.
Iowa Const. art. I (sec. 7)
Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985).
Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Comm. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
Bystrom v. Fridley High School, 822 F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987).
Iowa Code §§ 279.8, .73; 280.22
Cross Reference: 102 Equal Educational Opportunity
502 Student Rights and Responsibilities
504 Student Activities
603.9 Academic Freedom
903.5 Distribution of Materials
Approved 10/20/2021 Reviewed Revised
502.3R1 Student Expression and Student Publication Code
A. Student Expression defined: Student Expression is speech, action or other forms of expression which convey a student’s beliefs, views or opinions.
B. Official school publications defined: An “official school publication” is material produced by students in journalism, newspaper, yearbook, or writing classes and distributed to students either free or for a fee.
C. Limitations to Student Expression
1.No student will express, publish or distribute publication material which is:
c. slanderous; or
d. encourages students to:
1) commit unlawful acts;
2) violate lawful school regulations;
3) cause the material and substantial disruption of the orderly and efficient operation of the school or school activity;
4) disrupt or interfere with the education program;
5) interrupt the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere; or
6) infringe on the rights of others.
D. Responsibilities of students for official school publications.
1. Students writing or editing official school publications will assign and edit the news, editorial and feature contents of the official school publications subject to the limitations of the student publications code and the law.
2. Students will strive to achieve professional standards of accuracy, fairness, objectivity and thoroughness in each and every aspect of official school publications.
3. Students will strive to achieve professional standards of grammar, usage, punctuation and spelling for clarity and accuracy of official school publications.
E. Responsibilities of faculty advisors for official school publications.
Faculty advisors will supervise student writers to maintain professional standards of English and journalism and to comply with the law including, but not limited to, the restrictions against unlawful speech. Official school publications are produced under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors to students producing official school publications shall supervise the production of the student staff in order to maintain professional standards of English journalism. District employees acting within the scope of their professional ethics will not suffer adverse employment action or retaliated against for acting to protect a student for engaging in authorized student expression or for refusing to infringe on protected student expression.
F. District employee rights
Any District employee or official, acting within the scope of that person’s professional ethics, if any, shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, subject to termination
or nonrenewal of a teaching contract or extracurricular contract, or otherwise retaliated against for acting to protect a student for engaging in expression protected by law, or refusing to infringe upon student expression that is protected by law.
Student expression, including student expression in an official school publication will not be deemed to be an expression of the school district. The school district, the board, and the employees or officials are not liable in any civil or criminal action for any student expression made or published by students unless the employees or officials have interfered with or altered the content of the student expression. The liability, if any, is only to the extent of interference or alteration of the speech or expression.
H. Appeal procedure
1. Students who believe they have been unreasonably restricted in their exercise of expression in an official student publication will seek review of the decision through the student grievance procedure, under board policy 502.4.
2. Persons who believe they have been aggrieved by a student-produced official student publication will file their complaint through the citizen grievance procedure, under board policy 213.1.
I. Time, place and manner of restrictions on student expression.
1. Student expression may be conveyed and official student publications may be distributed in a reasonable manner on or off school premises.
2. Student expression and distribution of official school publications in a reasonable manner will not encourage students to:
a. commit unlawful acts;
b. violate school rules;
c. cause the material and substantial disruption of the orderly and efficient operation of the school district or school activity;
d. disrupt or interfere with the education program;
e. interrupt the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere; or
f. infringe on the rights of others.