A. Content - Student writers have initial responsibility in determining content of material submitted to the Talon, Aerie, or other school publications. The faculty advisor may override the student editors' decision, but shall give substantial and due regard for the judgment of the student editors and for the educational value of the exercise of that judgment.
B. Criteria for Acceptability of Content - Acceptability of content shall be determined in accordance with the following criteria:
- No obscenity, overt or implied, is allowed in articles or pictures. (Definition A)
- Vulgarity, indecency, and profanity are not allowed.
- Expression may be curtailed if under the circumstances there is a significant possibility of violence or of a substantial disruption of school activities. (Definition B)
- Material creating a significant danger of libel is not acceptable. (Definition C)
- Material invading the privacy of others, or creating a significant danger of psychological or other harm to others, is not acceptable. The age and sophistication of students and other persons will be considered.
- News articles and factual statements must be objective and based on fact.
- Editorials and other articles expressing opinions must be responsible and based on fact, and there must be reasonable opportunity for rebutting or opposing viewpoints.
- Material insulting to religious, ethnic, or racial groups is not acceptable.
- Less restrictive alternatives, when possible, are to be favored over total exclusion of material.
- Exclusion shall not be based on disagreement with political or philosophical views.
- Quality of writing and analysis will be considered.
Interpretation and application of the criteria shall be governed by the following goals:
- To maintain high standards of journalism, including respect for accuracy, style, and responsibility;
- To encourage the development of intelligent and responsible student leadership;
- To encourage thoughtful expression of student opinion;
- To avoid harm to others, and to minimize expenditure of limited school resources on libel claims;
- To avoid the impression that a student's personal opinion is the opinion of the school staff.
C. Review of Materials
- If a student claims that material was improperly rejected for publication by reason of its content, he or she may seek review. The student shall make a written complaint to the faculty advisor, clearly setting forth any reason why he or she believes the nonacceptance was improper. The faculty advisor, in consultation with the student editors, shall review the complaint and within three school days advise the student of whether the material is still not acceptable. If no compromise is reached, the student may in writing request review by the Publications Committee by following the procedure described below in 3.
- Any person having a complaint about anything published, or to be published, or under consideration for publication in a school publication should contact the appropriate advisor. If the complainant is not satisfied, the Publications Review Form should be filled out and sent to the head of the Information Res. and Devel. Department. The department head will call a meeting of the Publications Committee within a week of receiving the complaint. (A quorum is 50% of committee members.) The committee will send a written response to the complainant.
- The Publications Committee is composed of the principal, or the principal's representative, faculty advisors of all school publications, student representatives from all school publications, and the president of the student council. The number of student representatives equal the number of faculty advisors for each publication. The chairman of the department responsible for publications shall call and chair any meetings. The chair is a non-voting member of the committee except in the case of a tie vote.
- "Obscenity" refers to that quality of description, in whatever form, of nudity or sexual activity which
- predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors;
- is patently offensive to the prevailing standards of the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and
- is utterly without redeeming social importance for minors
- A "disruption of school activities" refers to:
- violation of school discipline and safety rules;
- lack of attention in class, assembly, or other official school activities;
- disorder or excessive noise in the school library or elsewhere on campus;
- lack of attendance at required school events including classes; or
- other disruptions or interferences with normal school processes, functions, or purposes.
- "Libel" refers to publication or disruption or distribution of false printed statements which are not privileged and are damaging to a person's reputation.