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Burbank USD |  BP  5145.2  Students

Freedom Of Speech/Expression   

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The Board of Education believes that free inquiry and exchange of ideas are essential parts of a democratic education. The Board respects students' rights to express ideas and opinions, take stands on issues, and support causes, even when such speech is controversial or unpopular.

(cf. 6142.3 - Civic Education)

(cf. 6144 - Controversial Issues)

On-Campus Expression

Students shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards; the distribution of printed materials or petitions; the wearing of buttons, badges and other insignia; and the right of expression in official publications. Students' freedom of expression shall be limited only as allowed by law in order to maintain an orderly school environment and to protect the rights, health and safety of all members of the school community. (Education Code 48907)

School officials shall not engage in prior restraint of material prepared for official school publications except insofar as the content constitutes prohibited speech/expression as defined below.

The Superintendent or designee shall not discipline any high school student solely on the basis of speech or other communication that would be constitutionally protected when engaged in outside of school, but may impose discipline for harassment, threats or intimidation unless constitutionally protected. (Education Code 48950)

On-campus student expression, including but not limited to any type of electronic communication, is generally constitutionally protected but shall be subject to discipline when such expression poses a direct threat to the safety and/or well being of students or school personnel.

Electronic Communications

School-related student speech, which is accomplished through electronic means, is subject to the same protection and regulation as other forms of student speech. Conduct or expression of opinion by a student, whether in class or out of class, that violates school regulations, substantially interferes with the educational process, or which disrupts the educational environment may subject a student to disciplinary action.

A student who commits any of the acts enumerated under Education Code, Section 48900, et seq. via any electronic medium including, but not limited to, electronic mail or external web sites, may be subject to discipline as described in that section.

(cf. 1113 - District and School Web Sites)

(cf. 6163.4 - Student Use of Technology)

Prohibited Speech/Expression

Students' freedom of expression shall be limited only as allowed by Education Code 48907, 48950, and other applicable state and federal laws.

Students are prohibited from making any expression or distributing or posting any materials that are harassing, threatening, intimidating or obscene, libelous or slanderous. Students are also prohibited from making any expressions that so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, the violation of school rules, or substantial disruption of the school's orderly operation. (Education Code 48907) The use of "fighting words" or epithets is prohibited in those instances where the if speech is abusive and insulting, rather than a communication of ideas, and the speech is used in an abusive manner in a situation that presents an actual danger that will cause a breach of the peace.

School officials shall not engage in prior restraint of material prepared for official school publications except insofar as the content of the material violates the law. (Education Code 48907)

The Superintendent or designee shall not discipline any high school student solely on the basis of speech or other communication that would be constitutionally protected when engaged in outside of school, but may impose discipline for harassment, threats, or intimidation unless constitutionally protected. (Education Code 48950)

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process: Students with Disabilities)

Off-Campus Expression

A student shall be subject to discipline for off-campus expression, including expression on off-campus Internet web sites and other electronic communication devices when such expression poses a direct threat to the safety and/or well being of other students, staff, or school property, or substantially disrupts the education program. The Superintendent or designee shall document the impact the expression had or could be expected to have on the school program.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

48907 Exercise of free expression; rules and regulations

48950 Speech and other communication

51520 Prohibited solicitations on school premises

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 20

4071-4074 Equal Access Act

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION

Article 1, Section 2 Freedom of speech and expression

U.S. CONSTITUTION

Amendment 1 Freedom of speech and expression

COURT DECISIONS

Smith v. Novato Unified School District, (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 1439

Lavine v. Blaine School District, (2001) 257 F.3d 981

Emmett v. Kirkland School District No. 415, (2000) 92 F.Supp. 2d 1088

J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District, (2000) 757 A.2d 412 (Pa. Commw. 2000)

Beussink v. Woodland R-IV School District, (1998) 30 F.Supp. 2d 1175

Muller v. Jefferson Lighthouse School, (1996) 98 F.3d 1530

Lovell v. Poway Unified School District, (1996) 90 F.3d 367

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, (1988) 108 S. Ct. 562

Leeb v. DeLong, (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 47

Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, (1986) 478 U.S. 675

Bright v. Los Angeles Unified School District, (1976) 18 Cal. 3d 350

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, (1969) 393 U.S. 503

Management Resources:

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LEGAL ADVISORIES

Limitations on Student Expression in School-Sponsored Publications, March 4, 1988

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education: http://www.cde.ca.gov

Policy BURBANK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: February 15, 2007 Burbank, California

revised: May 1, 2008