6605.1: Journalism


I. Prohibited Expressions. 

Prior to publication of the student newspaper, annuals, and magazines, the classroom instructor and school principal or designee shall review classroom materials to determine their acceptability for publication. Student publications may be restricted, edited, or prohibited when, after considering the maturity level of the students, the classroom instructor, principal (or designee) determines any of the following:

A. The expression is considered vulgar or obscene. Vulgar or obscene expressions are those which the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that when taken as a whole, appeal to prurient interests; or, the expressions depict or describe in a patently offensive way sexual conduct in a manner prohibited by applicable law; or, the obscene materials, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. 

B. The expression is considered defamatory. Expressions shall be considered defamatory when they include libelous falsehoods about individuals. In order to be libelous, the libelous falsehood must be made with actual malice; that is, with the knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of whether or not it is false. 

C. The expression invades the privacy of others. Invasion of privacy includes exploitation of an individual's personality; providing information of an individual's private affairs with which the public has no legitimate concern; or wrongful intrusion into an individual's private activities in a manner that can cause mental suffering, shame, or humiliation to a person of ordinary sensibilities. 

D. The expression criticizes school officials or advocates violation of District Policies or Rules. Such expressions are prohibited to the extent that there is evidence that supports a reasonable judgment that substantial disruption of or material interference with the normal operation of the school or school activities will result, as provided in Section I (F) below.

E. The expression is discriminatory. Expressions which attack or promote discrimination against groups or individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, marital status, disability, or age.

F. The expression substantially interrupts or materially interferes with the educational process. Such expressions are prohibited when there is information which causes school administrators to reasonably forecast that a substantial disruption of or material interference with the normal operation of the school or school activities may occur, or injury to persons, damage to property, or interference with the rights of others may result if permitted. 

G. The expression is highly controversial. The publication is highly controversial and advances or advocates a certain viewpoint or lifestyle which has an inflammatory effect. An indication of whether something is controversial is whether the topic would reasonably offend some groups or would be shocking to teachers, parents, and/or students. To be prohibited under this subsection, the expression must substantially interrupt or materially interfere with the educational process.

H. The expression constitutes sexual harassment. The expression violates District Rules 5010.1, 5010.3 or 5400.6 or constitutes prohibited sexual harassment.

II. Guidelines for Student Memorials

A. Yearbook Guidelines:

1. A deceased student's picture, if available, will be included with the pictures of other students in the class for the year covered by the yearbook. In addition, approximately one-fourth page will be allowed for each student who died during the year. This area will include each student's picture (if available), the student's legal name, and the dates of birth and death. The top of the page will be designated, "Memorial Page" or "In Memory." If there are no student deaths there will be no memorial page.

2. For yearbooks that are delivered in the Fall, the memorial page will precede the index page. The yearbook will cover deaths from the beginning of summer through the last day of the school year. If there is a death during the summer and the student has not graduated, the student's picture will appear in the next year's yearbook.

3. For yearbooks that are delivered in the Spring, with a Fall supplement, the memorial page will be at the end of the yearbook supplement. The yearbook and supplement cover deaths that occur from July 1st through the next June 30th.

B. Student Newspaper Guidelines: 

1. Because of the periodic nature of student newspapers, no memorial pictures or articles will be published. Letters to the editor of tribute to the deceased or of sympathy to family and/or friends may be published. Letters must be signed and are subject to editing, after consultation with the author(s). Staff editorials may be published, at the discretion of the editorial staff and with the approval of the newspaper sponsor.

III. Violation of District Policy or Rule. Students who violate District policy or rule governing journalism through printed material, e-mail, or any other written or electronic medium are subject to disciplinary action as set forth in District Rule 5400.1. 

IV. Request for Hearing. Any student or student group believing that the District has unfairly deprived the student or student group of their freedom of expression may request a review of the perceived deprivation by following the procedures set forth in District Rule 5510.1.

V. Advertisements. Any person or entity wishing to advertise in a District publication must obtain written approval by the building principal or principal's designee prior to publication.

Date of Adoption
July 5, 1988
Date of Revision
April 21, 1997
July 26, 1999
April 24, 2000
January 7, 2013
November 16, 2020
September 5, 2006