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Policy model 3

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Policy 3: Freedom of expression and press freedom are fundamental values in a democratic society.

The mission of any institution committed to preparing productive citizens must include teaching students these values, both by lesson and by example.

For these purposes, as well as to teach students responsibility by empowering them to make and defend their own decisions, school-sponsored student news media, print or online, at [NAME OF SCHOOL] are established as designated public forums for student expression in which students make all final decisions of content.

Such news media will not be reviewed by school officials outside the adviser in his/her coaching role or restrained by school officials prior to, during, or after publication or distribution.

Therefore, material published in school-sponsored news media may not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the [NAME OF SCHOOL] District, and neither school officials nor the school are legally responsible for their content.

Students are protected by and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the U.S. Constitution and the various court decisions reaffirming those principles.

Comment: This is the same as model two but also includes a statement that student media do not intend to reflect the opinions of school authorities. Like model two, this model addresses the educational value of student media and attaches these issues to legal language. The three essential points made in earlier models appear here as well.

Designated forum: This language (designated forum in policy or practice) should be included in policies at board or publication level because all public forums are designated either by action or inaction (unless the board clearly says otherwise). Being silent as students operate as a forum is really permitting a designated forum.

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