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

Note:For policies governing student speech at commencement ceremonies, see FMH(LOCAL).

Philosophy

Recognizing that students enjoy First Amendment rights that are appropriate to the school environment and that the exchange of ideas is an important part of the learning process, the District is committed to providing opportunities for students to learn and demonstrate the attributes of effective communicators.

Student Speakers at School Events

Campuses are encouraged to provide age-appropriate opportunities for students to volunteer as public speakers at school events.

For purposes of this policy, a "school event" is a school-sponsored event or activity that is not part of curriculum-required instruction, regardless of whether the event takes place on or off school property.

Students shall be eligible to speak at designated school events provided they have not received discipline requiring their removal from the classroom during the school year in which the speaking event occurs (in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, disciplinary alternative education placement, juvenile justice alternative education program).

Consistent with this policy, the administration shall establish regulations for identifying speaking opportunities, notifying students of such opportunities, and neutrally selecting student speakers.

Content of Student Speech

Student speech shall be relevant to the purpose of the designated school event. Student speakers must stay on subject and may not engage in speech that:

  1. Is obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent;
  2. Creates reasonable cause to believe that the speech would result in material and substantial interference with school activities or the rights of others;
  3. Promotes unlawful activity that threatens the health and safety of students, including illegal drug and alcohol use;
  4. Violates the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person;
  5. Contains defamatory statements about public figures or others; or
  6. Advocates imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

Disclaimer

If a need exists to dispel confusion over the fact that the District does not sponsor the student's speech, a written or oral disclaimer shall be made stating that the student's private expression does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District.

Student Expression of Religious Viewpoints

The District shall not discriminate against a student based on a religious viewpoint. Student expression of a religious viewpoint on authorized subjects shall be treated the same as student's expression of a secular viewpoint.

Religious Expression in Class Assignments

Students may express religious beliefs in class assignments and shall not be penalized or rewarded because homework, artwork, or any other written or oral assignment contains religious content. Assignments shall be judged by academic standards applicable to all class assignments, including, but not limited to, relevance.

Freedom to Organize Religious Groups and Activities

Religious student groups shall be given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to other noncurricular student groups. Students may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, "see you at the pole" gatherings, and other religious gatherings before, during, and after school hours to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other noncurricular student activities and groups. [See FNAB]

Fort Bend ISD

FNA(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2019.02

DATE ISSUED: 2/5/2019