Clovis Municipal Schools Student Publications Policy

STUDENT PUBLICATIONS
(Student Publications Code)
Purpose

As stated in Board Policy JICE, school-sponsored
publications are a public forum for students as well as an educational
activity through which students can gain experience in reporting,
writing, editing and understanding responsible journalism. Content of
school publications may reflect all areas of student interest, which
may include topics about which there may be dissent or controversy.

Responsibilities of Student Journalists

In addition to the responsibilities set forth in Board Policy JICE, students who work on official student publications will:

Ÿ Rewrite material, as required by the faculty advisors to improve sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Ÿ Check and verify all facts and verify the accuracy of all quotations.

Ÿ
In the case of editorials or letters to the editor concerning
controversial issues, provide space of rebuttal comments and opinions.

If
the Board determines that advertising is allowed in the publication,
the student editor will develop guidelines, which will be approved by
the Board, for the content of any advertisements.

Responsibilities of Publications Advisor

It
shall be the responsibility of the publications advisor to supervise
the production of the publication and to teach and encourage free and
responsible expression and professional standards for English and
journalism. If participation in the publication is part of a school
class or activity for which grades or school credits are given, the
publications advisor may establish or limit writing assignments for the
students working with the publication and otherwise direct and control
the learning experience that the publication is intended to provide.
The publications advisor will exercise general supervision over all
activities to create proper learning environment.

Prohibited Materials

Students may not publish or distribute material, which is obscene. Obscene means:

Ÿ
The average person applying contemporary community standards finds
that the publication, taken as a whole, appeals to a minor’s prurient
interest in sex.

Ÿ
The publication depicts or describes in a patently offensive way
sexual conduct such as ultimate sexual acts (normal or perverted),
masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of genitals.

Ÿ The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

Students may not publish expression, which is libelous, slanderous or defamatory under state law. Libelous is defined as a false and unprivileged statement about a person, which injures the individual’s reputation in the community.

Expression which is false as to any person who is not a public figure or involved in a matter of public concern is prohibited.

If
the allegedly libeled individual is a public figure or official, the
official must show that the false statement was published with actual
malice, as the terms are defined in the law.

Under the fair comment rule,
a student is free to express an opinion on matters of public interest.
Specifically, a student enjoys a privilege to criticize the performance
of teachers, administrators, school officials and other school
employees.

Expression
which presents a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful
acts, violation of lawful school regulations, or material and
substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school or which
violates the rights of others to privacy is prohibited.

In
order for a student publication to be considered disruptive, there must
exist specific facts upon which it would be reasonable in forecast that
a clear and present likelihood of an immediate, substantial material
disruption to normal school activity would occur if the material were
distributed. Undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is
not enough, school administrators must be able to show affirmatively
substantial facts, which reasonably support a forecast of likely
disruption. Material that stimulates heated discussion or debate does
not constitute the type of disruption, which is prohibited.

Time, Place and Manner Restrictions

The
principal will coordinate with the publications advisor on the time,
place and manner of distributing school-sponsored publications to
reduce any conflict with school instructional time and/or reduce any
disruption of the orderly operation of the school which might be caused
by the distribution of school sponsored publications.

Procedures for Resolving Differences

Student
editors will work first with the publications advisor to resolve any
differences. If the problem cannot be resolved at this level, the
petitioner shall work with the principal to resolve any
problems. If the problem is not resolved at the principal level, the
petitioner shall work with the Superintendent to resolve any problem.
If the problem is not resolved at the Superintendency level, the
petitioner shall work with the Board of Education. The timeline for
submission and response to conflicts is as follows:

Ÿ
Petitioner has one (1) day from the time of the first denial to
submit problem to the publications advisor. The publications advisor
has one (1) day to respond.

Ÿ
If the conflict is unresolved, petitioner has two (2) days from the
time of the second denial to submit the problem to the principal. The
principal has two (2) days to respond.

Ÿ
If the conflict is unresolved, petitioner has five (5) days from the
time of the third (3rd) denial to submit the problem to the
Superintendent. The Superintendent has three (3) days to respond.

Ÿ
If the conflict is unresolved, petitioner has ten (10) days from the
time of the fourth (4th) denial to submit the problem to the Board.
The Board will respond at the next regularly scheduled evening meeting.

Legal Advice

If,
in the opinion of the student editor, student editorial staff or the
publications advisor, material proposed for publication may be obscene, libelous, or cause a substantial disruption of school activities, the legal opinion of the School District’s attorney should be sought if authorized by the principal.

Legal fees charged in connection with this consultation will be paid by the District.

Underground Student Publications

An
underground student press should not be prohibited, assuming it
observes the normal rules for responsible journalism. However, the
building principal has the authority to restrict the distribution of
such materials by designating the time and place the materials may be
distributed.