604.14 – Distribution of Materials Selections

  • Guidelines

Students have the right to exercise freedom of speech. This included a right to distribute, at reasonable times and places, unofficial writing material, petitions, buttons, badges, or other insignia, except the expression of which:

    • is obscene to minors;
    • is libelous;
    • contains indecent, vulgar, profane, or lewd language;
    • advertises   any  product or service not permitted to minors or constitutes insulting 
    • or fighting words, the various expressions of which injures or harasses other people (e.g., threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person’s race, religion, gender, disability, age, or ethnic origin);
    • presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of content or the manner of distribution, it will cause a material 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.
  • Procedures

Anyone wishing to distribute unofficial written material must first submit for approval a copy of the material to the building principal at least twenty-four hours in advance of desired distribution time, together with the following information:

    • Name and phone number of the person submitting a request and, if a  student, the   homeroom number;
    • Date(s) and time(s) of the day of intended display or distribution;
    • The location where the material will be displayed or distributed;
    • The grade(s) of students to whom the display or distribution is intended.

Within twenty-four hours of submission, the principal will render a decision whether the material violates the guidelines in subsection I or the time, place, and manner restrictions in subsection Ill of this policy. In the event that permission to distribute the material is denied, the person submitting the request should be informed in writing of the reasons for the denial. Permission to distribute material does not imply approval of its contents by either the school, the administration, the Board, or the individual reviewing the material submitted.

  • Time, place, and manner of distribution
    • The material shall be distributed from a table set up for the purpose in a location designated by the principal, which location shall not block the safe flow of traffic or block the corridors or entrance ways, but which shall give reasonable access to students.
    • The material shall be distributed either before and/or after the regular instructional day.
    • No written material may be distributed during and at the place of a normal school activity if it is reasonably likely to cause a material and substantial disruption of that activity.
  • Definitions
    • “Obscene to Minors” is defined as:
      • The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the written material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors of the age to whom distribution is requested;
      • 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
      • The material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
    • “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen.
    • “Material and Substantial Disruption” of a normal school activity is defined as follows:
      • Where the normal school activity is an educational program of the district for which student attendance is compulsory, “material and substantial disruption” is defined as any disruption which interferes with or impedes the implementation of that program.
      • Where the normal school activity is voluntary in nature (including, without 
      • limitation, school athletic events, school plays and concerts, and lunch periods), “material and substantial disruption” is defined as student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, widespread shouting or boisterous demonstration sit-in, stand-in, walk-out, or other related forms of activity.
    • “School Activities” means any activity of students sponsored by the school and includes, by way of example 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.
    • “Unofficial” written material includes all written material except school newspapers, literary magazines, yearbooks, and other publications funded and/or sponsored or authorized y the school. Examples include leaflets, brochures, flyers, petitions, placards, and underground newspapers, whether written by students or others.
    • “Distribution” means circulation or dissemination of written material by means of handing out free copies, selling or offering copies for sale, and accepting donations for copies. It includes displaying written material in areas of the school which is generally frequented by students.
  • Disciplinary Action
    • Distribution by any student of unofficial written material prohibited in subsection Ior in violation of subsection Ill may be halted, and students may be subject to discipline including suspension and expulsion. Any other party violating this policy may be requested to leave the school property immediately and, if necessary, local law enforcement officials will be called.
  • Notice of Policy to Students
    • A copy of this policy will be published in student handbooks and posted conspicuously in school buildings.

Date of Approval: February 13, 1995

Reviewed & Revised: June 30, 1997; January 19, 2009; November 17, 2014; March 21, 2016