500-508 School-Sponsored Publications


SERIES: 500 Students
SUBJECT: 508 School-Sponsored Publications

The following definitions shall be used to clarify this policy:

1. “Distribution” means circulation or dissemination of material by means of handing out free copies, selling, or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies, or posting or displaying material.
2. “Official school publications” means school newspapers, yearbooks, material produced in communication, journalism or other writing classes as apart of the curriculum.
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 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. student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, conduct inappropriate to the event, participation in a school boycott, demonstration, sit-in, walk-out, or other related forms of activity during school activities which are voluntary
in nature (including school athletic events, plays and concerts, and lunch periods).
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 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 treat school publications as expressions and representations of students and not as official expressions of the school district.  Student publications shall be free from prior restraint by officials except as provided by law.  Faculty advisors shall supervise student writers to ensure compliance with the law and school district policies.

Students who believe their right to free expression has been unreasonably restricted in an official student publication may seek review of the decision by the principal.

Expression in an official school publication is prohibited when the material is:
1. obscene to minors,
2. libelous or slanderous,
3. advertises or promotes any product or service not permitted for minors by law,
4. encourages students to commit illegal acts or violate school regulations or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of school or school activities, or
5. expresses or advocates sexual, racial, or religious harassment or violence or prejudice.

Written materials may be distributed in locations so as not to interfere with the normal flow of traffic within the school hallways, walkways, entryways, and parking lots.  Distribution shall not impede entrance to or exit from school premises.  No distribution shall cause a substantial disruption of normal school activities.

No one shall coerce a student or staff member to accept a student publication.

Legal References:
U.S. Constitution, First Amendment
Hazelwood School Dist. V. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
Bystrom v. Fridley High School, I.S.D. 14, 822 F 2d 747 (8th cir. 1987)

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

Comments or questions?

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