FNA(LOCAL) - STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: STUDENT EXPRESSION

Designation of Limited Public Forum

The District 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 District shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion.

Student Expression of Religious Viewpoints

The District shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the District 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 expression on an otherwise permissible subject may not be excluded from the limited public forum because the subject is expressed from a religious viewpoint.

Eligibility and Selection of Student Speakers

For events at which a student is to make an introductory statement, the District shall establish, through administrative guidelines, a method based on neutral criteria for the selection of such introductory speakers. Any other student speaker at a school event shall be chosen to speak based on neutral criteria.

Certain students who have attained special positions of honor in the school have traditionally addressed school audiences from time to time as a tangential component of their achieved positions of honor. Nothing in this policy eliminates the continuation of the practice of having these students address school audiences in the normal course of their respective positions.

Content of Student Introductions

The subject of the student introductions must be related to the purpose of the event and to the purpose of marking the opening 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. The student introducing a school event may not engage in speech that:

Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent;

Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others;

Promotes illegal drug use;

Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person;

Contains defamatory statements about public figures or others; or

Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

Disclaimer at Events with Introductory Speaker

Introductory speech delivered by a student under this policy is the private speech of the student and will not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District. For as long as a need exists to dispel confusion over the District's nonsponsorship of student speech, at each event at which a student speaks, the District will state, in writing, orally, or both that the student's speech does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District.

The disclaimer shall be a statement 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 District."

Disclaimer at Graduation Ceremonies

For all graduation ceremonies, a written disclaimer shall be printed in the graduation program that states, "The students who will 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 any position or expression of the school District or the Board of Trustees, or the District's administration, or employees of the District, or the views of any other graduate. The contents of these messages were prepared by the student volunteers, and the District refrained from interaction with student speakers regarding the student speakers' viewpoints on permissible subjects."

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 student's 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 groups' 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.

Lake Travis ISD

FNA(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2007.05

DATE ISSUED: 10/9/2007