500-507 Distribution of Non-School Sponsored Materials


SERIES: 500 Students
SUBJECT: 507 Distribution of Non-School-Sponsored Materials on School Premises

The following definitions shall be used to clarify this policy:

1. “Distribution” means circulation or dissemination of material by means of handing our free copies, selling, or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies, or posting or displaying material.
2. “Non-school-sponsored material” or “unofficial material” includes all materials or objects intended for distribution, except school newspapers, employee newsletters, literary magazines, yearbooks, and other publications funded and/or sponsored or authorized by the school.  Examples of non-school-sponsored materials include but are not limited to leaflets, brochures, buttons, badges, flyers, petitions, posters and underground newspapers whether written by students or employees or others, and tangible objects.
3. “Obscene to minors” means
     a. the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors of the age to whom distribution is requested;
     b. the material depicts or describes, in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community concerning how such conduct should be presented to minors of the age to whom distribution is requested, sexual conduct such as intimate sexual acts (normal or perverted), masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
     c. material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
4. “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen (18).
5. “Material” and substantial disruption” of a normal school activity means
     a. any disruption which interferes with or impedes the implementation of an educational program of the district for which student attendance is compulsory, and
     b. actions where the normal school activity if voluntary in nature, such as student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, conduct inappropriate to the event, participation in a school boycott, demonstration, sit-in, walk-out, or their related forms of activity.
6. “School activities” means any activity sponsored by the school including, but not limited to, classroom work, library activities, physical education classes, official assemblies and other similar gatherings, school athletic contests, band concerts, school plays, and in-school lunch periods.
7. “Libelous” is a false and unprivileged statement about a specific individual that tends to harm the individual’s reputation or to lower that individual in the esteem of the community.

The school district shall recognize the right of students to express themselves on school property.  This protection includes the right to distribute, at a reasonable time and place and in a reasonable manner, non-school-sponsored materials.

The school district shall protect First Amendment rights, while at the same time preserve the integrity of the educational objectives and responsibilities of the school district.

Requests for distribution of non-school-sponsored material will be reviewed by the administration on a case-by-case basis.  However, the school district shall prohibit distribution of material that:
1. is obscene to minors;
2. is libelous or slanderous;
3. is pervasively indecent or vulgar or contains any indecent or vulgar language or representations, with a determination made as to the appropriateness of the material for the age level of students to which it is intended;
4. advertises or promotes any product or service not permitted to minors by law;
5. advocates violence or other illegal conduct;
6. Constitutes insulting or fighting words, the very expression of which injures or harasses other people (e.g. threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person’s race, religious or ethnic origin); or
7. presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or the manner of distribution, it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities, will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations.

No non-school-sponsored material shall be distributed during and at the place of a normal school activity if it is reasonably likely to cause a substantial disruption of that activity.

Distribution of non-school-sponsored material is prohibited when it blocks the safe flow of traffic within corridors and entrances of the school, and school parking lots.  Distribution shall not impede entrance or exit from school premises in any way.  No on shall coerce a student or staff member to accept any publication.

Legal References:
U.S. Constitution, First Amendment
Hazelwood School district v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S. Ct. 562, 98 L. Ed.2d592 (1988)
Bethel Sch. Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675, 106 S.Ct. 3159, 92 L.Ed.2d 549 (1986)
Tinker V. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21L.Ed.2d 731 (1969)
Bystron v. Fridley High School, 822 F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1986)

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Lincoln Elementary School
1114 East 23rd Street
Hibbing, MN 55746

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Office Phone: (218) 208-0842
Principal: Mr. Robert Bestul
Hibbing Public Schools,
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