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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Policy 3220 - FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The free expression of student opinion is an important part of education in a democratic society. Students may express oral, written or illustrative opinions on school premises so long as it does not substantially disrupt the operation of the school or otherwise violate this policy.  Students are expressly prohibited from using vulgar and/or offensive terms in classrooms or other school settings, including on transportation.

Student Publications

Student publications or other media produced as part of the school’s curriculum or with the support of the associated student body (ASB) fund are intended to serve as both vehicles for instruction and student voice.  Although substantively financed and operated by the district, student editors of school-sponsored media are responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of the media, consistent with Chapter 28A.600 RCW.  Material appearing in or on student media may reflect various areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be controversy or dissent.  When engaging with a controversial issue student media should strive to provide in-depth treatment and represent a variety of viewpoints.  Representing a variety of viewpoints does not require student media to include information from sources not deemed credible.  Student media may not:

  • Be libelous or slanderous;
  • Be an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
  • Be obscene or profane, such that it would violate federal or state laws, rules or regulations or incites others to violate federal or state laws, rules or regulations, including the standards established by the federal communications act or applicable federal communication commission rules or regulations;
  • Cause a substantial disruption of the school;
  • Violate district policy or procedure related to harassment, intimidation, bullying, or related to the prohibition on discrimination pursuant to RCW 28A.642.010.
  • Violate federal or state laws, rules, regulations, or advocate the violation of such laws; or
  • Advertise tobacco products, liquor, illicit drugs, or drug paraphernalia.

The superintendent shall develop guidelines assuring that students are able to enjoy free expression of opinion as long as it does not present a substantial disruption of the school.

Distribution of Materials

Students and district staff may distribute student publications or other materials on school premises in accordance with procedures developed by the superintendent. Such procedures may impose limits on the time, place, and manner of distribution including prior authorization for the posting of such material on school property.

Students responsible for the distribution of material that leads to a substantial disruption of school activity or otherwise interferes with school operations will be subject to corrective action, including suspension or expulsion, consistent with student discipline policies.

A person who is neither a student nor a district employee will distribute materials on school grounds.

Cross References:
Religious-Related Activities and Practices – Policy 2340
Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying – Policy 3207
Nondiscrimination – Policy 3210

 Legal References:
RCW 28A.600
Student rights - WAC 180-40-215

Management Resources:
2018 – May Issue
2015 – July Policy Alert
2001 – August Issue

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: August 1985
Revised by the Board: 03.19
Classification:  Encouraged