School Board Policy 904 -
Distribution of Materials on School District Property for Nonschool Persons

 

Adopted: october 9, 1995 
REVISED: april 13, 2009  revised: december 13, 2010 
revised: may 8, 2017  

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide for distribution of materials appropriate to the school setting by nonstaff and nonstudents on school district property in a reasonable time, place and manner which does not disrupt the educational program nor interfere with the educational objectives of the school district.

II. General Statement of Policy

A. The school district intends to provide a method for nonschool persons and organizations to distribute materials appropriate to the school setting as deemed by the district, within the limitations and provisions of this policy.

B. Political materials that align with the curriculum used for that course may be used for teaching purposes. Care should be given to present politically balanced materials during current political campaigns.

C. Teachers may invite political speakers, but must give equal time to presenters from an opposing party.

D. Campaign literature can be distributed on school property only during non-school hours.

E. To provide for orderly and nondisruptive distribution of materials, the school board adopts the following guidelines and procedures.

III. Definitions 

A. "Distribution" means circulation or dissemination of materials by means of handing out free copies, selling or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies, posting or displaying materials, or placing materials in internal staff or student mailboxes.

B. "Libelous" is a false and unprivileged statement about a specific individual that tends to harm the individual's reputation or to lower him or her in the esteem of the community.

C. "Material and substantial disruption" means:

1. Where the school activity is an educational program of the school 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.

2. Where the school activity is voluntary in nature (including, but not limited to school athletic events, school plays and concerts, and lunch periods) "material and substantial disruption" is defined as student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, conduct inappropriate to the event, or participation in a school boycott, demonstration, sit-in, stand-in, walk-out, or other related forms of protest activity.

In order for expression to be considered disruptive, there must exist specific factors upon which the likelihood of disruption can be forecast, including past experience in the school, current events influencing student activities and behavior, and instances of actual or threatened disruption relating to the written materials in question.

D. "Materials" includes all materials and objects intended by nonschool persons or nonschool organizations for distribution. Examples of nonschool-sponsored materials include but are not limited to leaflets, brochures, buttons, badges, flyers, petitions, posters and unsanctioned newspapers whether written by students, employees or others.

E. “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen (18).

F. "Nonschool person" means any person who is not currently enrolled as a student or employed by the school district.

G. "Obscene to minors" means:

1. 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;

2. The materials depicts or describes, conduct that is patently offensive to prevailing offensive by prevailing standards in the adult community concerning how such conduct should be presented to minors of the age to whom distribution is requested; and

3. The materials, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.

H. "School activities" means any activity sponsored by the school, including but not limited to classroom work, library activities, physical education classes, official assemblies, field trips. and other similar gatherings, school athletic contests, band concerts, school plays, other theatrical productions and in-school lunch periods.

IV. Guidelines 

A. Nonschool persons and organizations may, within the provisions of this policy, be granted permission to distribute, at reasonable times and places as set forth in this policy, and in a reasonable manner, materials and objects which are appropriate to the school setting.

B. Requests for distribution of materials will be reviewed by the administration on a case-by-case basis. However, distribution of the following materials is always prohibited. Material is prohibited that:

1. is obscene to minors;

2. is libelous;

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 any product or service not permitted to minors by law;

5. advocates violence or other illegal conduct;

6. is deemed to be an insulting or fight inducing message, the very expression of which constitutes injury or harassment of other people (e.g., threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person's race, religious or ethnic origin);

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.

C. Permission for nonschool persons to distribute materials on school district property is a privilege and not a right. In making decisions regarding permission for such distribution, the administration will consider factors including, but not limited to, the following:

1. whether the material is educationally related to our district mission and values;

2. the extent to which distribution is likely to cause disruption of, or interference with, the school district's educational objectives or school activities, or threaten school discipline;

3. whether the materials can be distributed from the school office or other isolated location so as to minimize disruption of traffic flow in hallways;

4. the quantity or size of materials to be distributed;

5. whether distribution would require assignment of school district staff, or the use of school district equipment or other resources;

6. whether distribution would require that nonschool persons be present on the school grounds; and/or

7. whether the materials are a solicitation for goods or services not requested by the recipients.

V. Time, Place, and Manner of Distribution 

If permission is granted pursuant to this policy for the distribution of any materials, the time, place and manner of distribution will be solely within the discretion of the administration and consistent with the provisions of this policy.

VI. Procedures 

A. Any nonschool person wishing to distribute materials on school property must first submit for approval a copy of the materials to the administration at least five business days in advance of desired distribution time, together with the following information:

1. Name and contact information of the person submitting the request..

2, If material is intended for students, the grade(s) of students to whom the distribution is intended.

B. The administration will review the request and render a decision.

C. In the event a non-school person seeks permission to personally distribute materials on school property, the administration will review the request, and if granted, assign a location and method of distribution and will inform the persons submitting the request.

D. In the event that permission to distribute the materials is denial or limitation, the administrator may use any reasonable method to inform the person of the denial or limitation; however, the administrator must request of the person submitting the request, provide a written denial of or limitation on the request including the reason(s) for denial or limitation.

E. Permission or denial of permission to distribute material does not imply approval or disapproval of its contents by the school, the administration of the school, the school board, or the individual reviewing the material submitted.

F. In the event that permission to distribute materials is denied or limited, the nonschool person(s) or organization may request reconsideration of the decision. The request for reconsideration must be in writing and must set forth the reason(s) why distribution is desirable and in the interest of the school community.

VII. Violation of Policy 

Any party violating this policy or distributing materials without permission will be directed to leave the school property immediately and, if necessary, law enforcement will be notified.

VIII. Implementation 

The school district administration may develop any additional guidelines or procedures necessary to implement this policy, and submit the guidelines or procedures to the school board for approval. Upon approval by the school board, such guidelines and procedures shall be an addendum to this policy.

Legal References: 
U. S. Const., amend. I
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S.Ct. 562, 98
L.Ed.2d 592 (1988)
Doe v. South Iron R-1 School District, 498 F.3d 878 (8th Cir. 2007)
Bystrom v. Fridley High School, 822 F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987)
Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788, 105 S.Ct. 3439, 87 L.Ed.2d 567 (1985)
Perry Education Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 103 S.Ct. 948, 74 L.Ed.2d 794 (1983)
Roark v. South Iron R-1 School Dist., 573 F.3d 556 (8th Cir. 2009)

Cross References: 
MSBA/MASA Model Policy 505 (Distribution of Nonschool-Sponsored Materials on School Premises by Students and Employees) MSBA/MASA Model Policy 512 (School-Sponsored Student Publications)