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

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 Speakers at Nongraduation Events

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.

For purposes of this policy, a "school event" is a school-sponsored event or activity that does not constitute part of the required instruction for a segment of the school's curriculum, regardless of whether the event takes place during or after the school day.

For purposes of this policy, "to publicly speak" means to address an audience at a school event using the student's own words and does not include reading or reciting from published works or other materials furnished by the District for an official school purpose. A student is not using his or her own words when the student is reading or performing from an approved script, is delivering a message that has been approved in advance or otherwise supervised by school officials, or is making brief introductions or announcements.

Introductory Speakers

Student speakers shall be given a limited public forum to introduce:

Varsity athletic events;

Pep rallies (student motivational speeches);

Organizational award ceremonies/banquets;

Graduation ceremonies (invocation and benediction);

School dances and school-sponsored social events; and

Fine arts performances.

The forum shall be limited in the manner provided by this section on nongraduation events.

Eligibility and Selection

Students are eligible to use the limited public forum if they:

Volunteer; and

Are not in a disciplinary placement at the time of the speaking event.

Eligible students who wish to volunteer shall submit their names in writing to the campus principal during the first full week of instruction each semester. Students are not eligible to volunteer if they are in a disciplinary placement during any part of the first full week of instruction. If there are no student volunteers, the District shall seek volunteers again at the beginning of the next semester. If no students volunteer or if the selected speaker declines or becomes ineligible, no student introduction will be made at the event.

The names of the students who volunteer to speak shall be randomly drawn until all names have been selected.

Assignment of Introductory Speakers

Each student, in the order drawn, shall be matched chronologically to the single event for which the student shall give the introduction. This assignment process shall be repeated as needed.

The District shall repeat the selection and assignment process at the beginning of each semester.

Content of Student Introductions

The subject of the student introductions shall relate to the purpose of introducing the designated event. The student must stay on the subject. The student 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.

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.

Disclaimer

For as long as there is a need to dispel confusion over the fact that the District does not sponsor the student's speech, at each event in which a student shall deliver an introduction, a disclaimer shall be stated in written or oral form, or both, 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."

Other Student Speakers

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, such as the captains of various sports teams, student council officers, class officers, homecoming kings and queens, prom kings and queens, and the like, and have attained their positions based on neutral criteria. Nothing in this policy eliminates the continuation of the practice of having these students, regardless of grade level, address school audiences in the normal course of their respective positions. The District shall create a limited public forum for the speakers and 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 a student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

Other than the students who qualify as speakers for the limited public forum provided under this paragraph, the District is under no obligation to create an additional limited public forum under this policy to expand the limited public forum to include additional students.

Student Speakers at Graduation Ceremonies

Opening and Closing Remarks

Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the District hereby creates a limited public forum consisting of an opportunity for a student to speak to begin graduation ceremonies and another student to speak to end graduation ceremonies. For each speaker, the District shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion.

The forum shall be limited in the manner provided by this section on student speakers at graduation.

Eligibility

Only students who are class officers of the graduating class shall be eligible to use the limited public forum. A student who shall otherwise have a speaking role in the graduation ceremonies is ineligible to give the opening and closing remarks. Students who are eligible shall be notified and given an opportunity to volunteer. Students are not eligible to volunteer if they were in a disciplinary placement during any part of the spring semester.

The names of the eligible students who volunteer shall be randomly drawn. The student whose name is drawn first shall give the opening, and the student whose name is drawn second shall give the closing.

Content of Opening and Closing Remarks

The topic of the opening and closing remarks shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony and to the purpose of marking the opening and closing 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.

Other Student Speakers

In addition to the students giving the opening and closing remarks, the valedictorian, salutatorian, and class president may have speaking roles at graduation ceremonies. For each speaker, the District shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion and to the position held by the speaker. For this purpose, the District creates a limited public forum for these students to deliver the addresses. The subject of the addresses shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony, marking and honoring the occasion, honoring the participants and those in attendance, and the student's perspective on purpose, achievement, life, school, graduation, and looking forward to the future.

The student shall stay on the subject, and the student shall 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.

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.

Disclaimer

A written disclaimer shall be printed in the graduation program that states, "The students who shall 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 the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District.''

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 poll'' 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.

Van Alstyne ISD

FNA(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2013.04

DATE ISSUED: 10/17/2013