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Policy 10010 - Distribution and Display of Materials and Announcements

The purpose of this policy is to inform the public and staff about criteria for displaying, posting or distributing informational materials and announcements, including but not limited to: information sent home to or through students or distributed electronically; information on community display tables, racks or bulletin boards; and information made available at back-to-school nights, open houses, or other school-related activities.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County recognizes that collaboration with the broader community is critical in the achievement of the Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) mission and goals. Therefore, as a service to the community, the Board allows distribution and display of information through school- or system-designated communication channels, or through students.

The Board recognizes the responsibility of the school system to provide a learning environment free from disruption. It is also the Board’s intention that the use of school time, personnel and resources to accommodate the distribution of materials be kept to a minimum and not interfere with educational functions.

In this regard, it is the intent of the Board to designate the appropriate manner for materials to be distributed and/or displayed. Approval to disseminate or display materials in one or more Howard County public schools, or through school system communication channels, does not imply Board or school system endorsement of the organization or the information it disseminates.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to inform the public and staff about criteria for displaying, posting or distributing informational materials and announcements, including but not limited to: information sent home to or through students or distributed electronically; information on community display tables, racks or bulletin boards; and information made available at back-to-school nights, open houses, or other school-related activities.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Distribution – Dissemination/Communication to students, parents, or the community via print or electronic format, or through multi media. (Distribution also includes the delivery to another student or students on school property of a publication when the distributor has or has had in his/her possession multiple copies of the publication or the posting of a copy of the publication in one or more locations within the school or on school property.)

  2. School-Related Activity – Any school system activity, whether held on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g., school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being there (e.g., spectator at a school event).

  3. School-Sponsored – Taking place with the knowledge and approval of school-based administration and including the promotion, leadership, and/or participation of school employees. The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for custodial purposes does not constitute sponsorship of the meeting.

  4. School Property – Any property owned or leased by the HCPSS. The concept of property will extend to school activities such as field trips, use of parks and recreation facilities, proms at hotels, etc. School buses, bus stops, and facilities scheduled by the school system for student use are considered an extension of school property.

IV. Standards

  1. All distribution and display of materials and announcements by community organizations in or through schools or students, or through HCPSS communication channels, will comply with established HCPSS processes for such distribution.

  2. Public agencies or non-profit service organizations will request permission to distribute free informational materials through the school system’s Public Information Office. Such materials will bear the sponsoring organization’s name.

  3. The principal/designee will permit HCPSS students to disseminate materials and announcements that are not associated with school-sponsored or school-related activities, providing the materials or announcements comply with established procedures.

  4. Violations of this policy and the associated procedures are subject to the following consequences:

    1. Confiscation of the material.

    2. Criminal prosecution of non-students for trespass.

    3. Disciplinary action against students.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Public Information Office will ensure that all community organizations approved to disseminate materials in or through schools or students, or through HCPSS communication channels, are informed of the requirements of this policy and related procedures.

  2. The principal/designee will ensure that HCPSS students who disseminate materials and announcements that are not associated with school-related activities, comply with this policy and related procedures.

  3. HCPSS will inform parents annually of their right not to receive materials from community organizations approved for distribution in schools.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VIII. History

ADOPTED: October 9, 1973

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

REVISED: December 13, 1990, June 28, 2007, March 10, 2016

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2016