The Board recognizes the responsibility of the news media to provide to the community accurate and timely information concerning the objectives, achievements, needs, and conditions of the Department's schools, centers and educational programs.

The Board supports the rights of citizens to have access to information that affects Department programs and students. The Department encourages positive relations with news reporters and other communications representatives. Department administrators and other personnel shall endeavor to create a positive, courteous relationship with members of the news media and maintain open communications on matters of a routine nature; however, the welfare of students shall be the guiding principle in all contacts with the news media.

Board Meetings

Department administrators and other personnel shall cooperate with news media to ensure complete and accurate coverage of all Board meetings.

News Releases

News releases of a political or controversial nature, as well as those concerning the overall operation of Department schools, centers and programs shall be made only by the Superintendent, or the Executive Director of Public Information.

Routine news concerning programs and campus or center activities may be released to the media by the Marketing and Communication or the Public Information Division after collaboration or communication between the Divisions.

Broadcast of School or Center Events

The Public Information Division shall be responsible for the approval and coordination of news media interviews within individual schools and centers, and shall cooperate when reasonable requests are made by bona fide news media representatives.

The Marketing and Communication Division shall coordinate preplanned media events initiated by or hosted at HCDE for marketing or required public relations reasons.

The Public Information Division shall coordinate media events or responses initiated due to an unplanned event, episode, or occurrence, or such an event occurring due to a question or request from the media. Without direct permission from the Superintendent, no other employee may override such released information.

The broadcast or telecast of school or center events shall not identify the schools or centers with the promotion of any commercial or political enterprise. All such coverage shall be with the prior approval of the Superintendent, the Executive Director of Public Information or designees.

Media activities shall not be allowed to disturb or disrupt the instructional program of the schools or centers. Maintaining a safe, orderly educational environment shall be the most important consideration when working with the news media at the campus and center level.

Harris County Department of Education



DATE ISSUED: 8/3/2004