3220 Freedom of Expression

The free expression of student opinion is an important part of education in a democratic society.  Students’ verbal and written expression of opinion on school premises is to be encouraged so long as it does not substantially disrupt the operation of the school.  Students are expressly prohibited from the use of vulgar and/or offensive terms in the classroom or assembly settings.

The superintendent shall develop guidelines assuring that students are able to enjoy free expression of opinion while maintaining orderly conduct of the school.

A.  Student Publications

Student publications produced as part of the school’s curriculum or with the support of the associate student body fund are intended to serve both as vehicles for instruction and student communication.  They are operated and substantively financed by the district.  Material appearing in such publications should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be controversy and dissent.  Controversial issues may be presented provided that they are treated in depth and represent a variety of viewpoints.  Such materials may not:  be libelous, obscene or profane; cause a substantial disruption of the school; invade the privacy of others; demean any race, religion, sex or ethnic group; advocate the violation of the law; or advertise tobacco products, liquor, illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia.

The superintendent shall develop guidelines to implement these standards and shall establish procedures for the prompt review of any materials that appear not to comply with the standards.

B.  Distribution of Materials

Publications or other materials written by students may be distributed on school premises in accordance with procedures developed by the superintendent.  Such procedures may impose limits on the time, place and manner of distribution including prior authorization for the posting of such material on school property.

Students responsible for the distribution of material that leads to a substantial disruption of school activity or otherwise interferes with school operations shall be subject to corrective action or punishment, including suspension or expulsion, consistent with student discipline policies.

Materials shall not be distributed on school grounds by non-students or non-employees of the district.

Cross References:

Board Policy 2340                        Religious-related Activities and Practices

Board Policy 3241            Corrective Actions or Punishment

Legal Reference:

WAC 392-40-215             Student rights

Management Resources:

Policy News, August 2001  A Few Civil Liberty Reminders

Adoption Date:  5.01

MethowValleySchool District