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  • Section J: Students



 The purpose of the RSU 21 schools is to provide appropriate education to District students in accordance with state and federal law and the policies and programs established by the Board of Directors and school administrators.  The schools do not provide a forum to be used by individuals or groups to communicate with students or school employees.  All expressive activity should be consistent with the basic educational mission of the school.  The purpose of this policy is to help ensure that the schools will conform to, as well as enhance, their primary purpose - the education of students.

This policy addresses three categories of materials:

I.          School-sponsored student publications;
II.         Non-school materials distributed by students; and


School sponsored student publications are any publications approved by the school, supervised by staff members and designed to impart particular knowledge or skills to student participants and audiences.  These include, but are not limited to: the yearbook, the student newspaper, and the literary magazine.  Administrators and faculty shall exercise control of school sponsored publications to assure that the participants learn whatever lessons the activity is designed to teach, that readers or listeners are not exposed to material that may be inappropriate for their level of maturity, and that the views of the individual writer or speaker are not erroneously attributed to the school.

To the extent deemed educationally appropriate by teachers or advisors for school sponsored publications, student editors shall have initial responsibility for determining content.  However, the advisor or an administrator may override the student editors’ decision.  Factors that advisors and administrators should consider in determining whether content is appropriate include but are not limited to: the educational objectives of the school sponsored activity (for example, teaching accuracy and fairness are legitimate educational objectives of the student newspaper); the primary and reputational interest of students, faculty and administrators; the emotional maturity of the intended audience; whether the material might reasonably be perceived to advocate alcohol or drug use, irresponsible sex, or conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order; whether the content associates the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of religion, politics or social  controversy; and the guidelines listed in Part II. C. of this policy.


It is beneficial to the basic educational mission of the school for students to express their own views concerning a wide variety of topics and issues and share them with other students in the school.  The students’ rights to express their views in the school, however, are not coextensive with the rights of adults or even children in other settings and must be exercised in the light of the special characteristics of the school environment.  The school has the duty to ensure that the manner in which these views are expressed and the views themselves do not conflict with the basic educational mission of the school.

Accordingly, the following rules shall be applied to distribution of materials (see definitions in appendix) on school premises by students.  These rules shall be applied with due regard for the age and emotional maturity of students to whom the materials are distributed.  

A.        Non-School Materials

Expression by students of their own views can have educational value.  The schools, however, shall not be used by outside individuals or groups to further their goals through communication with students and/or staff.  Distribution of materials by non-school individuals or groups is governed by Policy KHC. Distribution of materials by students for financial or other inducement provided by non-school individuals or groups shall be subject to Policy KHC. 

B.         Copy for Principal

A copy of the materials shall be provided to the Principal at or before the time distribution is to begin, along with the name of the students who are distributing the materials.

C.        Voluntary Review Available

Students may voluntarily request review of materials by the Principal in advance of distribution.  If review is requested, the Principal shall determine whether the materials comply with the guidelines of this policy and shall consult with the Superintendent and legal counsel if necessary.

The school’s determination that the material complies with the guidelines does not imply approval of its contents by the school, the administration of the school, the Board of Directors, or the individual reviewing the material submitted.  The distributors and authors of the material shall be solely responsible for its contents.

D.        Guidelines

 Materials distributed on school premises shall not include expression that (see Appendix for definition):

1.         is obscene to minors;

2.         is libelous;

3.         is pervasively indecent or vulgar, if distributed in the high school or junior high school; contains any indecent or vulgar language, if distributed in the elementary schools;

4.         advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;

5.         constitutes insulting or fighting words, the very expression of which injures or harasses other people (e.g., threats of violence, or harassment based on race, religion, ethnic origin, handicap or gender)

6.         presents a clear and present likelihood that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities, or will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations;

7.         expresses religious beliefs or points of view that students would reasonably believe, due to the content or format, to be sponsored, endorsed or given official imprimatur by the school.  

E.         Time, Place and Manner of Distribution

Students may distribute materials at any entrance or exit to the school both before and after school and at a place in the cafeteria designated by the Principal during all lunch periods.  Students shall not distribute materials in a manner which disrupts any school activity or blocks or impedes the safe flow of traffic within corridors and entrance ways of the school.  Students who distribute such materials shall be responsible for cleaning up such materials thrown on the floors, in the school, or on the grounds outside the school.

F.         Compliance with Policy

Violations of this policy shall be handled in accordance with usual school discipline procedures.


Amended: 04/26/2010 

  • Section J