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CONTROL OVER STYLE AND CONTENT OF SPEECH

The School's educators shall exercise editorial control over style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.

The School may refuse to disseminate or sponsor student speech that:

  1. Would substantially interfere with the work of the School.
  2. Impinges on the rights of other students.
  3. Is vulgar or profane.
  4. Might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol use, irresponsible sex, or conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order.
  5. Is inappropriate for the level of maturity of the readers.
  6. Does not meet the standards of the educators who supervise the production of the publication.
  7. Associates the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.

Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S. Ct. 562 (1988)

Adopted: 7/13/79

Amended: 9/10/82, 11/17/95, 3/26/04

Reviewed: 11/19/99


FUNCTIONS

The Board believes that student government organizations serve an important function in the total educational program of the School, as well as in the general emotional, social, and intellectual development of the individual students who participate in such organizations. Student government affords students the opportunity to participate in the formation of general school policies and to discuss matters of student concern, and it also provides students with experience in participating in the democratic process.

SCOPE OF ACTIVITY

Student government organizations may make recommendations for the general operation of the School and policy matters for the School; they shall not, however, actually prescribe regulations and rules for the operation of the School.

SUPERVISION

All such organizations shall be under the direct supervision of a faculty adviser and the principal.

Adopted: 4/7/78
Amended: 11/17/95
Reviewed: 5/25/05

School officials shall not direct the performance of a formal religious exercise at promotional and graduation ceremonies. Lee et al. v. Weisman, 112 S.Ct. 2649 (1992) (addressing prayer by clergy at graduation)

The Board permits the graduating senior class, with the advice and counsel of the senior class sponsor, to elect to choose student volunteers to deliver nonsectarian, nonproselytizing invocations and benedictions for the purpose of solemnizing their graduation ceremonies. Jones v. Clear Creek ISD, 977 F.2d 963 (5th Cir. 1992), cert. denied; 113 S.Ct. 2950 (1993)

EARLY GRADUATES

A parent is entitled to have a child who graduates earlier than the child would normally graduate participate in graduation ceremonies at the time the child graduates, if the child completes each course required for graduation. Education Code 26.003(a)(3)(C),(4) See EIF

Adopted: 1/29/93

Amended: 9/29/95, 3/26/04

FIRST AMENDMENT

The School shall take no action respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Board for a redress of grievances. U.S. Const. Amend. I

Freedom of Speech

Students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. At school and school events, students have First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment.

Student expression that is protected by the First Amendment may not be prohibited absent a showing that the expression will materially and substantially interfere with the operation of the School or the rights of others.

Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733 (1969) [See also FNCI]

The inculcation of fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic society is part of the work of the School. The First Amendment does not prevent school officials from determining that particular student expression is vulgar and lewd, and therefore contrary to the school's basic educational mission. Bethel Sch. Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675, 106 S. Ct. 3159 (1986)

Prayer at school activities

A TSBVI student has an absolute right to individually, voluntarily, and silently pray or meditate in school in a manner that does not disrupt the instructional or other activities of the School. A TSBVI student shall not be required, encouraged, or coerced to engage in or refrain from such prayer or meditation during any school activity. Education Code 25.901

Nothing in the Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits any TSBVI school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the schoolday. But the religious liberty protected by the Constitution is abridged when a district affirmatively sponsors the particular religious practice of prayer.

The School shall not adopt a policy that establishes an improper majoritarian election on religion and has the purpose and creates the perception of encouraging the delivery of prayer at a series of important school events.

Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 120 S. Ct. 2266 (2000)

Federal funds

As a condition of receiving certain federal funds, the School shall certify in writing to TEA that no School policy prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in the School, as detailed in the guidance from the United States secretary of education regarding constitutionally protected prayer. The certification shall be provided by October 1 of each year.

By November 1 of each year, TEA shall report to the secretary a list of districts that have not filed the certification or against which complaints have been made to TEA that the district is not in compliance with the paragraph above. The secretary may issue and secure compliance with rules or orders with respect to a district that fails to certify, or is found to have certified in bad faith, that no policy of the district prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Sec. 9524, Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1980-81 (2002) (to be codified at 20 U.S.C. 7904)

PATRIOTIC OBSERVANCES

The School may officially encourage students to express love for the United States by reciting historical documents or singing official anthems that contain religious references; such patriotic or ceremonial occasions do not constitute a school-sponsored religious exercise. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962)

The School shall not, however, compel students to participate in patriotic observances. West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 63 S. Ct. 1178 (1943) (holding unconstitutional a requirement that students salute the United States flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance)

Adopted: 11/13/81

Amended: 5/30/86, 11/17/95, 5/25/04

Reviewed: 11/19/99

STUDENT EXPRESSION OF RELIGIOUS VIEWPOINTS

The School shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the School treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and shall not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

STUDENT SPEAKERS AT NONGRADUATION EVENTS

The School hereby creates a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak.  For each speaker, the School shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion. 

For purposes of this policy, a school event is a school-sponsored event or activity that does not constitute part of the required instruction for a segment of the schools curriculum, regardless of whether the event takes place during or after the school day.

For purposes of this policy, to publicly speak means to address an audience at a school event using the students own words.  A student is not using his or her own words when the student is reading or performing from an approved script, is delivering a message that has been approved in advance or otherwise supervised by school officials, or is making brief introductions or announcements.

Introductory Speakers

When a student is given permission to speak at a school event at which another student is to publicly speak and the student is not reading or performing from an approved script or is not delivering a message that has been approved in advance, the forum shall be limited in the manner provided by this section on nongraduation events.

Eligibility and Selection

Students are eligible to use the limited public forum if they

  1. Are in the highest two grade levels of the school,
  2. Volunteer, and
  3. Are not in a disciplinary placement at the time of the speaking event.

Eligible students who wish to volunteer at these designated events shall submit their names to the Comprehensive Programs Principal during the first full week of instruction each semester.  Students are not eligible to volunteer if they are in a disciplinary placement during any part of the first full week of instruction.  If there are no student volunteers, the School shall seek volunteers again at the beginning of the next semester.

The names of the students who volunteer to speak shall be randomly drawn until all names have been selected; the names shall be listed in the order drawn.

Assignment of Introductory Speakers

Each selected student shall be matched chronologically to the single event for which the student shall give the introduction.  The list of student speakers shall be chronologically repeated as needed, in the same order.  If no students volunteer or if the selected speaker declines or becomes ineligible, no student introduction will be made at the event.

The School shall repeat the selection process at the beginning of each semester.

Content of Student Introductions

The subject of the student introductions shall relate to the purpose of introducing the designated event.   The student must stay on the subject.  The student may not engage in speech that:

  1. Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent;
  2. Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others;
  3. Promotes illegal drug use;
  4. Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person;
  5. Contains defamatory statements about public figures or others; or 
  6. Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

The School shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the School treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and shall not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

Disclaimer

For as long as there is a need to dispel confusion over the fact that the School does not sponsor the student's speech, at each event in which a student shall deliver an introduction, a disclaimer shall be stated in written or oral form, or both, such as, "The student giving the introduction for this event is a volunteering student selected on neutral criteria to introduce the event.  The content of the introduction is the private expression of the student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the School."

STUDENT SPEAKERS AT GRADUATION CEREMONIES

Open and Closing Remarks

The School hereby creates a limited public forum consisting of an opportunity for a student to speak to begin graduation ceremonies and another student to speak to end graduation ceremonies.  For each speaker, the School shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion.

The forum shall be limited in the manner provided by this section on student speakers at graduation.

Eligibility

Only students who are graduating shall be eligible to use the limited public forum.   A student who shall otherwise have a speaking role in the graduation ceremonies is ineligible to give the opening and closing remarks.  Students who are eligible shall be notified and given an opportunity to volunteer.  Students are not eligible to volunteer if they were in a disciplinary placement during any part of the spring semester.

The names of the eligible students who volunteer shall be randomly drawn.  The student whose name is drawn first shall give the opening and the student whose name is drawn second shall give the closing.

Content of Opening and Closing Remarks

The topic of the opening and closing remarks shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony and to the purpose of marking the opening and closing of the event; honoring the occasion, the participants, and those in attendance; bringing the audience to order; and focusing the audience on the purpose of the event.

Other Student Speakers

In addition to the students giving the opening and closing remarks, the valedictorian, salutatorian, or any honored graduate may have speaking roles at graduation ceremonies.  For each speaker, the School shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion and to the position held by the speaker.  For this purpose, the School creates a limited public forum for these students to deliver the addresses.  The subject of the addresses shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony, marking and honoring the occasion, honoring the participants and those in attendance, and the student's perspective on purpose, achievement, life, school, graduation, and looking forward to the future.

The student shall stay on the subject, and the student shall not engage in speech that:

  1. Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent;
  2. Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others;
  3. Promotes illegal drug use;
  4. Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person;
  5. Contains defamatory statements about public figures or others; or
  6. Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

The School shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the School treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and shall not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

Disclaimer

A written disclaimer shall be printed in the graduation program that states, "The students who shall be speaking at the graduation ceremony were selected based on neutral criteria to deliver messages of the students' own choices.  The content of each student speaker's message is the private expression of the individual student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the School."

RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN CLASS ASSIGNMENTS

A student may express his or her beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the students submission.  Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.  A student shall not be penalized or rewarded because of religious content.  If a teacher's assignment involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards, including literary quality, and not penalized or rewarded because of its religious content.

FREEDOM TO ORGANIZE RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND ACTIVITIES

Students may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, "see you at the pole" gatherings, and other religious gatherings before, during, and after school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other noncurricular student activities and groups.  [See FNAB]  Religious groups shall be given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to other noncurricular groups, without discrimination based on the religious content of the group's expression.  If student groups that meet for nonreligious activities are permitted to advertise or announce the groups' meetings, for example, by advertising in a student newspaper, putting up posters, making announcements on a student activities bulletin board or public address system, or handing out leaflets, school authorities shall not discriminate against groups that meet for prayer or other religious speech.  School authorities may disclaim sponsorship of noncurricular groups and events, provided the disclaimer is administered in a manner that does not favor or disfavor groups that meet to engage in prayer or other religious speech.

Adopted:           9/28/07

PROTECTED SPEECH

Activities such as distributing literature, displaying signs, petitioning for change, and disseminating information concerning issues of public concern are protected by the First Amendment. Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network, 519 U.S. 357, 117 S. Ct. 855 (1997) (recognizing leafletting and commenting on matters of public concern as protected speech); Boos v. Barry, 485 U.S. 312, 108 S. Ct. 1157 (1988) (recognizing public issue signs as protected speech); Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 108 S. Ct. 1886 (1988) (recognizing the solicitation of signatures for a petition drive as protected speech)

LIMITATIONS ON EXPRESSION

The School may prohibit expression by students if:

  1. It materially and substantially interferes with school activities;
  2. It materially and substantially interferes with the rights of other students or teachers; or
  3. The School can demonstrate reasonable cause to believe that the expression would engender material and substantial interference.

NO VIEWPOINT DISCRIMINATION

The School shall not discriminate based on the viewpoint expressed in private, student-to-student, non-disruptive speech. Morgan v. Swanson, 659 F.3d 359 (5th Cir. 2011) (recognizing private, non-disruptive, student-to-student speech expressing a religious viewpoint as protected speech)

TIME, PLACE, AND MANNER LIMITATIONS

The School may limit student expression in manner, place, or time by means of reasonable, viewpoint-neutral regulations.

Shanley v. Northeast Indep. Sch. Dist., 462 F.2d 960 (5th Cir. 1972); Canady v. Bossier Parish Sch. Bd., 240 F.3d 437 (5th Cir. 2001)

Area of Distribution

The Principal shall designate an area where materials that have been approved for distribution by students in accordance with this policy may be made available or distributed. The Principal may develop reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions regarding the distribution of materials at designated areas.

Prior Review

The School may subject student expression to prior screening under clear and reasonable regulations. All written material over which the School does not exercise control and that is intended for distribution to students shall be submitted to the Principal or designee for prior review according to the following procedures:

 

  1. In order to be considered for distribution, materials shall include the name of the organization or individual sponsoring the distribution.
  2. Using the standards below at LIMITATIONS ON CONTENT, the Principal or designee shall approve or reject submitted material within two school days of the time the material is received.
  3. The student may appeal the principal's decision in accordance with TSBVI Policy FNG, beginning at Level Two.

Students who fail to follow these procedures may be disciplined in accordance with the FO series and the Student Code of Conduct.

LIMITATIONS ON CONTENT

The School shall not prohibit student expression solely because other students, teachers, administrators, or parents may disagree with its content.

Nonschool materials shall not be distributed if:

  1. The materials are obscene, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate for the age and maturity of the audience.
  2. The materials endorse actions endangering the health or safety of students.
  3. The distribution of such materials would violate the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person.
  4. The materials contain defamatory statements about public figures or others.
  5. The materials criticize Board members or school officials or advocate violation of school rules.
  6. The materials substantially interfere with school activities;
  7. The materials substantially interfere with the rights of other students or teachers;
  8. The School can demonstrate reasonable cause to believe that the expression would engender such material and substantial interference.
  9. The materials advocate imminent lawless or disruptive action and are likely to incite or produce such action.
  10. The materials include hate literature that scurrilously attacks ethnic, religious, or racial groups, and similar publications aimed at creating hostility and violence.

 Adopted:          5/25/05

Amended:        6/5/13

Reviewed:

 

EQUAL ACCESS ACT

Because TSBVI’s secondary program receives federal financial assistance and has a limited open forum, see below, the School shall not deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.  20 U.S.C. 4071(a)

ESTABLISHMENT OF LIMITED OPEN FORUM

For purposes of the Equal Access Act, the Board establishes a limited open forum for students attending the School’s secondary programs.  The School’s secondary programs shall offer an opportunity for noncurriculum-related student groups to meet on school premises during noninstructional time.  20 U.S.C. 4071 (b)

The Principal shall set aside noninstructional time before or after actual classroom instruction for meetings of noncurriculum-related student groups.  20 U.S.C. 4072

Students wishing to meet on school premises shall file a written request with the Principal.  The request shall contain a brief statement of the group's purposes and goals, a list of the group's members, and a schedule of its proposed meeting times.  Requests shall be approved by the Principal subject to availability of suitable meeting space and without regard to the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech likely to be associated with the group's meetings.  Notices of meetings may be posted in a manner determined by the Principal.

STAFF PARTICIPATION PROHIBITED

School personnel shall not promote, lead, or participate in the meetings of noncurriculum-related student groups.  The Principal may assign staff to monitor student meetings, as needed, and may establish reasonable written guidelines for the conduct of meetings to maintain order and discipline, protect the well-being of students and faculty, and ensure that student attendance is voluntary.  20 U.S.C. 4071 (f)

VIOLATIONS

Failure of a noncurriculum-related student group to comply with applicable rules may result in loss of the right to meet on school premises.  The Principal shall report rule violations to the Superintendent.

SUSPENSIONS

Depending upon the seriousness of any rule violations, the Principal may suspend a noncurriculum-related student group's right to meet on school premises for the balance of the school year or some lesser time period.  If a determination to suspend a group occurs during the last reporting period of the school year, the suspension may extend through the end of the first semester of the next school year. Suspensions or warnings imposed by the Principal may be appealed to the Board in accordance with FNG.

DEFINITIONS

“Meeting” includes those activities of student groups that are permitted under a school’s limited open forum and that are not directly related to the school curriculum.

"Noninstructional time" means time set aside by the school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction ends.

20 U.S.C. 4072

"Noncurriculum-related student group" means any student group that does not directly relate to the body of courses offered by the school.  A student group directly relates to the school's curriculum if it meets any of the following criteria:

  1. The subject matter of the group is actually taught or will soon be taught in a regularly offered course.
  2. The subject matter of the group concerns the body of courses as a whole.
  3. Participation in the group is required for a particular course.
  4. Participation in the group results in academic credit.

Westside Cmty. Sch. v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990)

“Sponsorship” includes the act of promoting, leading, and participating in a meeting. The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for custodial purposes does not constitute sponsorship of a meeting.  20 U.S.C. 4071 (c)

FAIR OPPORTUNITY TO CONDUCT MEETINGS

The School shall be deemed to offer a fair opportunity for students to conduct meetings within its forum if it uniformly provides that:

  1. The meeting is voluntary and student-initiated.
  2. There is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school or any government or its agents or employees.
  3. School employees are present at religious meetings only in a nonparticipatory capacity.
  4. The meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.
  5. Nonschool persons shall not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of student groups.

20 U.S.C. 4071(c)

 

The School is not permitted to:

  1. Influence the form or content of any prayer or other religious activity.
  2. Require any person to participate in prayer or other religious activity.
  3. Expend public funds beyond the incidental cost of providing the space for student-initiated meetings.
  4. Compel any School employee to attend a meeting if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the employee.
  5. Sanction meetings that are otherwise unlawful.
  6. Limit the rights of groups of students that are not of a specified numerical size.
  7. Abridge the constitutional rights of any person.

20 U.S.C. 4071(d)

Religious groups and activities

Students may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, “see you at the pole” gatherings, or other religious gatherings before, and after school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other noncurricular student activities and groups.  Religious groups must be given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to other noncurricular groups without discrimination based on the religious content of the students’ expression.

If student groups that meet for nonreligious activities are permitted to advertise or announce meetings of the groups, TSBVI may not discriminate against groups that meet for prayer or other religious speech.

TSBVI may disclaim School sponsorship of noncurricular groups and events in a manner that neither favors nor disfavors groups that meet to engage in prayer or religious speech.

Education Code 25.154

[For information on student expression of religious viewpoints, see FNA]

Adopted:         5/25/05

Amended:       8/9/18

Reviewed:

DISCIPLINE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

The School shall adopt and implement a discipline management program to be included in the annual improvement plan under Section 11.252 [See BQ].  The plan must provide for prevention of and education concerning unwanted physical or verbal aggression, sexual harassment, and other forms of bullying in school, on school grounds, and in school vehicles.

Education Code 37.083(a)

Adopted: 11/13/81
Amended: 1/26/90, 11/14/97, 3/21/03, 1/26/07, 8/9/19

Adopted: 7/13/79
Amended: 11/17/95, 11/19/99

DRESS AND GROOMING CODES

The Superintendent shall authorize the principals to establish dress and grooming codes for the students in their respective programs.

GROOMING REGULATIONS

Hair-length regulations that apply to boys, but not to girls, do not manifest to such an affront to students' constitutional rights to merit judicial intervention, nor do they violate the Texas Equal Rights Amendment. Barber v. Colorado ISD, 901 S.W.2d 447 (Tex. 1995); Bastrop ISD v. Toungate, 958 S.W.2d 365 (Tex. 1997)

Adopted: 7/13/79
Amended: 11/17/95, 11/19/99

LIABILITY

A parent or other person who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child is liable for any property damage proximately caused by:

  1. The negligent conduct of the child if the conduct is reasonably attributable to the negligent failure of the parent or other person to exercise that duty; or
  2. The willful and malicious conduct of a child who is at least ten years of age but under eighteen years of age. Family Code 41.001

Adopted: 4/7/78

Amended: 1/11/80, 3/12/82, 7/12/85, 9/22/89, 11/17/95, 5/25/05

Reviewed: 11/19/99