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 outside 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. 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:

Student assemblies at which students are allowed to publicly speak;

Cocurricular and extracurricular student assemblies and banquets; and

Honor assemblies at the secondary level.

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

Eligibility and Selection

Students are eligible to be selected to introduce school events covered by this policy if they:

Are in the highest two grade levels of the school;

Volunteer to speak; and

Are not in a disciplinary placement or suspension from any extracurricular activity at the time of the speaking event.

For cocurricluar, extracurricular, and honor assemblies and banquets only, students must be members of the organization for which the event is being held in order to be eligible. (For example, for National Honor Society, the student must be a member of the National Honor Society.)

Eligible students who wish to volunteer shall submit their names to the campus principal during the first two weeks 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.

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

Assignment of Introductory Speakers

Each selected student shall be matched chronologically to the single event for which the student shall give the introduction. The list of student speakers shall be chronologically repeated as needed, in the same order. If no students volunteer or if the selected speaker declines or becomes ineligible, and there are no eligible students, no student introduction shall be made at the event.

The District shall repeat the selection process at the beginning of each semester. Any student who, subsequent to being listed as an eligible student under this policy, engages in any act of misconduct that results in disciplinary placement or suspension from participation in an extracurricular activity for a period of time in excess of three school days shall be removed from the list of eligible speakers for the remainder of the semester, and the list matching students to the events to be introduced will be adjusted accordingly.

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 the illegal use of drugs, alcohol, or other controlled substances;

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

Contains defamatory statements about 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

In order to make it clear that the District does not sponsor the speech of students who are permitted to publicly speak under this policy, and in order to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the state law mandating the creation of the limited public forum established by this policy, at each event at which a student shall deliver an introduction, the following or substantially similar disclaimer shall be stated in written or oral form, or both: "The student giving the introduction for this event is a volunteering student selected on neutral criteria to introduce the event. The content of and any views expressed during the introduction is solely and entirely the private expression of the student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District." When given orally, the disclaimer shall be delivered by a District employee attending the event, using the same speaking equipment to be used by the student introducing the event.

Use of the District's public announcement system or speaker system by students at events covered by this policy is not considered to be District sponsorship but is incidental to the private speech of the student.

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.

Student Speakers at Graduation Ceremonies

Opening and Closing Remarks

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 graduating and who hold one of the following positions of honor based on neutral criteria shall be eligible to be selected to speak to begin and end graduation ceremonies as described above: senior class officers.

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. The students providing the opening and closing remarks shall not engage in prohibited speech as described below.

Other Student Speakers

In addition to the students giving the opening and closing remarks, the valedictorian and salutatorian 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 the illegal use of drugs, alcohol, or other controlled substances;

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

Contains defamatory statements about 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.

Use of the District's public announcement system or speaker system by students at events covered by this policy is not considered to be District sponsorship but is incidental to the private speech of the student.

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 and any views expressed during each student speaker's message is solely and entirely the private expression of the individual student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the District." The same disclaimer may be delivered orally by a District employee at the beginning of the graduation ceremony, using the same speaking equipment to be used by the student introducing the event.

Use of the District's public announcement system or speaker system by students at events covered by this policy is not considered to be District sponsorship but is incidental to the private speech of the student.

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.

China Spring ISD

FNA(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2007.04

DATE ISSUED: 10/24/2007