Grosse Pointe Public Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

5722 - STUDENT MEDIA, PUBLICATIONS AND PRODUCTIONS

Any student who desires to distribute a Student Publication shall submit the Student Publication to the building principal for review and approval prior to distribution. There is an important distinction between a Student Publication and a School Publication defined below.

At the time of submission, the student has the right and is encouraged to meet personally with the principal so that the student and the principal may freely exchange views on why the distribution of the student publication is or is not appropriate. The student or his/her representative may support the case for distribution with relevant witnesses and materials.

In determining whether a student publication is disruptive, school personnel should consider the context of the distribution as well as the content of the material. In this regard, consideration should be given to past experience with similar material, to past experience in dealing with and supervising students, to current events influencing student attitudes and behavior and to any instances of actual or threatened physical disruption prior to or contemporaneously with the submission of the student publication in question.

The principal shall render his/her decision to approve or disapprove the distribution of the student publication and notify the student within one (1) school day of its submission. If approval to distribute is not granted, the principal shall state his/her reason to the student in writing.

If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the principal, the student may appeal this decision. The appeal of the principalís decision may be taken by notifying the Superintendent, either orally or in writing, within two (2) school days so that principalís decision, of the studentís desire to appeal and the desire for a hearing before the Superintendent.

A hearing date must be established within three (3) school days after receipt of the notice of appeal has been filed with the Superintendent, and the Superintendent shall render a decision, stating reasons in writing, within three (3) school days of conclusion of the hearing.

If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the Superintendent, the student may appeal this decision. The appeal of the Superintendentís decision may be taken by notifying the secretary of the Board of Education, either orally or in writing, within two (2) school days of the studentís desire to appeal and the desire for a hearing before the Board.

A hearing date must be established within ten (10) days after receipt of the notice of appeal has been filed with the secretary of the Board, and the Board shall render its decision in writing within three (3) school days of the hearing.

At every level of the appeal process as outlined above, the student or his/her representative shall have the right to appear and present his/her case supported by relevant witnesses and materials as to why distribution of the student publication is appropriate.

In exercising the right of prior review, school personnel shall be guided by the following guarantees and definitions. Students are protected in their exercise of freedom of expression by the First Amendment to the constitution of the United States. It is the responsibility of the school and its staff, while establishing the kind of environment which is necessary for an orderly program of classroom learning, to ensure that the right of students to express themselves freely shall not be infringed upon at the same time. Distribution of student publications shall not be prohibited because they contain the expression of unpopular, critical, controversial, tasteless, or offensive ideas.

Distribution of the student publication during the period of initial review by the principal, after a negative decision of the principal, or during the period of appeal shall be sufficient grounds for suspension of the student by the principal in accordance with the procedures set forth in law.

In order for a student publication to be considered disruptive, there must exist specifically expressed facts upon which it would be reasonable to forecast that a clear and present likelihood of an immediate, substantial, and material disruption to normal school activity or school discipline would occur in the material were distributed. Mere undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough; school personnel must be able to affirmatively show substantial facts which reasonably support a forecast of likely disruption. Such disruption would include, for example, student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, destruction of property, threats or acts of violence, widespread shouting or boisterous conduct, or substantial participation in a school boycott, sit-in, stand-in, walk-out or other related forms of activity. On the other hand, material that stimulates heated discussion or debate does not constitute the type of disruption prohibited herein.

ADS

Ads concerning drug paraphernalia or any controlled substances are prohibited in school-sponsored publications.

Definitions of Terms Used in Discussing Student Publications

"School day" means any day during the regular school year or summer session on which regularly scheduled classroom instruction takes place and excludes Saturdays, Sundays, and official school holidays.

"Publication" means any book, magazine, pamphlet, newspaper, yearbook, picture, photograph, drawing, or other written, electronic, or printed matter or visual representation described as:

 

A.

"School Publication" means any publication, as defined herein, which is composed, compiled, published, or distributed under the official supervision of a faculty sponsor.

 
 

B.

"Student Publication" means any publication as defined herein which is composed, compiled, published, or distributed by students without school sponsorship.

"Distribution" means circulation or dissemination of the student publication to students at the time and place of normal school activity or immediately prior to subsequent thereto by means of handing out free copies, selling or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies of the publication or displaying the material in areas of the school building or property which are generally frequented by students. In dealing with material which is "obscene" or "libelous", the term "distribution" refers to dissemination of one or more copies; whereas in dealing with all other types of material, the term "distribution" refers to a substantial circulation or dissemination of the student publication so as to make the student publication generally available to the students of the school. Distribution may include dissemination of the student publication electronically.

"Normal school activity" means organized educational activity of students under the direct supervision of a member of the school staff which includes classroom work, library activities, physical education classes, official assemblies and other similar gatherings, school athletic contests, band concerts, school plays, and scheduled-in-school lunch periods.

"Minor" means any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.

"Obscene as to minor" means that an average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the publication, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest and has no redeeming social value; that the publication depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specified in applicable law; and that the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific value.

"Libel" is the false and unprivileged (unprotected by immunity) publication in writing or the printing of pictures, effigies or other fixed representations to the eye which expose a person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy which causes him/her to be shunned or avoided or which has a tendency to injure him/her in his/her occupation.

When the publication concerns "public officials", i.e., those who hold government office or "public figures", i.e. those who, by reason of the notoriety of their achievements or employment or by reason of the vigor and success with which they seek the publicís attention, the defamatory falsehood must be made with actual malice in order to be libelous, i.e., with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false. "Public figures" also includes administrators, teachers, and coaches.

PRODUCTIONS BY STUDENTS

 

A.

Advisory Group

 
 

Each schoolís Advisory Group will be made up of a:

 
 

1.

school administrator

 
 

2.

school drama and/or vocal music director

 
 

3.

technical production director

 
 

B.

The Advisory Group is responsible for:

 
 

1.

evaluating the anticipated effects of having students produce a specific script under the aegis of the school system;

 
 

2.

making a recommendation to the school principal that includes a list of possible concerns in the script.

Evaluation Criteria

As stated in the policy, script evaluation criteria should include the following considerations:

 

A.

The Grosse Pointe Public School System educational programs and mission.

 
 

B.

Appropriateness for both participants in the production and the intended audience of the production.

 
 

C.

Cost of the production, cast size, and available facilities.

Script selection for school-sponsored student production follows a defined process and recommended timeline IF a production is scheduled for the upcoming school year:

 

A.

mid-May Ė fine arts calendar and venue coordination for upcoming school year is finalized.

 
 

B.

mid-June Ė Advisory Group meets, evaluates scripts, and determines recommendations to be made to the school principal and concerns that will be noted.

 
 

C.

end of June Ė Scripts are presented to the school principal and approved by the principal before performance rights are purchased or licenses signed.

 
 

Once a script is approved, no changes are made to the script or music without written permission from the licensing agent.

 
 

D.

three (3) months prior to the production Ė Information about a script (synopsis) is shared with elementary and middle school staff, inviting their students to attend a matinee performance. Approval to attend a matinee is made by the building principal.

A nominal fee may be charged students attending a matinee.

If questions or concerns about appropriateness remain, a full run-through two (2) weeks prior to performance will be arranged for teachers and school administrators, so that an individual principal can determine if his/her students will attend. The use of a study guide for the production is highly recommended prior to the matinee performance to enlarge studentsí knowledge of the script, the music, and the theater.

Revised 5/22/17