The School Board of Miami-Dade County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the Bylaws and Policies of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools were adopted on May 11, 2011 and were in effect beginning July 1, 2011.
 

2240 - CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES AND STUDENT EXPRESSION

Students are encouraged to participate in discussions, speeches, and other expressions in which many points of view, including those that are controversial, are freely explored. A controversial issue is a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion or likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community.

The introduction and proper educational use of controversial issues are permitted if their use in the instructional program:

 A.is related to the instructional goals of the course of study and level of maturity of the students;

 B.does not attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view;

 C.encourages open-mindedness and is conducted in a spirit of scholarly inquiry;

 D.provides students with the right to form and express an opinion on controversial issues without subjecting them to academic consequences or disciplinary action for expressing their viewpoints;

 E.provides students with the right to study under competent instruction in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice; and

 F.provides students with the right to form and express an opinion on controversial issues without jeopardizing their relationship with the teacher or the school.

Controversial issues related to the instructional program may be initiated by the students themselves provided they are presented in the ordinary course of classroom instruction and are not substantially disruptive to the educational setting. Students shall not be disturbed in the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peaceably and to publicly and privately express ideas and opinions, including the use of social media, provided that such exercise does not infringe on the rights of others and does not interfere with the operation of the schools.

Students seeking to express their ideas and opinions through demonstration must discuss reasonable time, place, duration, and manner restrictions with their sponsor or an administrator in advance.

Disciplinary action may be taken against students who violate provisions of the Code of Student Conduct (Policy 5500), School Board policies, or engage in the following types of activities, including through social media, libel; violence or destruction of property; speech that is obscene, vulgar, lewd, or indecent; encouraging illegal drug use; or urging violation of law or school regulations. Student expression through symbols, buttons, badges, emblems, armbands, and dress/grooming is subject to the same limitations and may be prohibited if it signifies or is related to gangs, gang membership, or gang activity, or otherwise causes or may cause a disruption at school.

The right to free speech for students with regard to school-sponsored publications, productions, and performances is outlined in Policy 5722. Controversial issues may be introduced in school-sponsored publications, productions, and performances provided equal opportunity is given to present opposing viewpoints.

Controversial issues may not be initiated by a source outside the schools unless prior approval has been given by the principal. The principal is responsible for the administrative implementation of this policy.

A course of study or certain instructional materials may contain content and/or activities that some parents find objectionable. If after careful, personal review of the program lessons and/or materials, a parent indicates to the school that either the content or activities conflicts with his/her religious beliefs or value system, the school will consider a written request for his/her child to be excused from a particular class, lesson, or activity for specified reasons. The student, however, will not be excused from participating in the course and will be provided alternate learning activities during times of such parent requested absences.

Parents wishing to file formal complaints regarding controversial issues or the use of particular materials must do so according to Policy 9130.

20 U.S.C. 1232h