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HCPSS / POLICIES

Policy 10010 Implementation Procedures - Distribution and Display of Materials and Announcements

Implementation Procedures

I. Approval to Distribute Information Originating from the Community

  1. Approved Organizations

    1. An organization is approved to submit information for distribution to students, parents, or the community via print or electronic format, if the requesting organization is:

      1. A tax-supported agency of the federal, state, or local government; or

      2. A non-profit organization as documented by a letter from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS); or

      3. Distributing materials as part of approved fund raising activities in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS); or

      4. A local, state, and national parent teacher organization or a recognized booster club affiliated with any school in the HCPSS.

    2. Non-profit organizations requesting distribution of material will submit proof of non-profit status to the Public Information Office in the form of a letter from the IRS.

    3. The Public Information Office will maintain a current list of approved non-profit organizations for online access by schools.

    4. The Public Information Office will provide the procedures governing the distribution of information or materials to the organization at the time that the distribution request is approved.

  2. Requirements for Approval of Materials

    1. Announcements, flyers, and other materials from approved community organizations, groups, or agencies will not be disseminated through school or system communication channels or to or through students without prior written approval in accordance with these procedures.

    2. The distribution of announcements or other materials from approved organizations will be approved provided that such distribution is in accordance with this policy and procedures. However, the HCPSS retains the right to deny such distribution if the content could reasonably be predicted to cause a substantial disruption to or a material interference with the normal operation of the school or school activities.

  3. Organizations are encouraged to distribute information through HCPSS electronic channels designated for this purpose when feasible.

  4. Dissemination by PTAs, PTSAs, and Booster Clubs

    Organizations approved under section I.A.1.d of these procedures will submit announcements, flyers, or other materials to the principal for approval in accordance with section I.B of these procedures.

  5. Dissemination by Other Approved Organizations

    Approved organizations other than PTAs, PTSAs, or recognized booster clubs will submit a copy of announcements, flyers, or other materials to the Public Information Office in accordance with section I.B of these procedures and adhere to the following:

    1. Requests for distribution, including the content of announcements, flyers, or other materials will be submitted to the Public Information Office at least two weeks in advance of the intended dissemination date.

    2. Announcements or notices to be published in school or system newsletters are limited to the name and a brief description of the event or activity, the date(s), time(s) and location(s) of the event or activity, the name of the sponsoring organization, a contact number or email address, and a link to the sponsor’s website if available. School newsletters containing community announcements will bear a statement that the information is neither sponsored nor endorsed by HCPSS or the school, in accordance with Policy 10010 Distribution and Display of Materials and Announcements.

    3. If used, printed flyers and other materials will be properly bundled and labeled per instructions from the Public Information Office. Multiple copies of flyers will be delivered to the schools by the organization. Schools will disseminate the information to parents via Friday folders, student backpacks or other methods as determined by the school. Printed materials will bear a statement that the content is neither sponsored nor endorsed by the HCPSS, in accordance with Policy 10010 Distribution and Display of Materials and Announcements.

  6. Approved materials are disseminated on a space and time available basis.

  7. Any third-party cost incurred in distributing materials will be borne by the sponsoring organization.

  8. Right to Not Receive Information

    1. HCPSS will inform parents annually regarding the distribution of information from community organizations, groups and agencies and their option to not receive this information.

    2. Parents who exercise this option will continue to receive information from the school system; their local school; the school’s PTA, PTSAs, and booster clubs; federal, state, and local government agencies only. They will not receive printed information from any other community organizations, groups or agencies.

    3. Students will not be pressured or coerced to take or respond to announcements, flyers or other materials.

  1. HCPSS students who wish to disseminate on school property more than ten (10) items of materials or announcements that are not school-sponsored or school-related will obtain prior permission from the principal/designee.

    1. Three (3) copies of the materials or announcements will be given to the principal/designee five (5) school days prior to the requested distribution date.

    2. The materials or announcements will bear the name of the sponsoring organization or individual(s) when applicable.

    3. Materials or announcements distributed in schools will not include content that:

      1. Is libelous or obscene, or violates the rights of privacy of any person.

      2. Might reasonably lead school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities.

      3. Would endanger the health or safety of students or staff.

    4. Materials or announcements will not be sold on school property.

    5. A decision regarding distribution of the information will be rendered by the principal/designee within five (5) school days.

    6. To aid in the decision, the principal may solicit input from a representative, group of faculty, parents, students, or other stakeholders.

    7. If the principal/designee approves the material or announcement for dissemination, the principal/designee will notify the student(s) in writing who submitted the information that it may be distributed and establish a time, place, and manner for distribution.

    8. If, in the opinion of the principal/designee, the information contains any of the content specified in II.3, the principal/designee will notify the student(s) who submitted the material or announcement that it may not be distributed on school property, citing in writing the specific reasons for the decision.

    9. The principal/designee’s decision concerning distribution will be attached to each of the three copies of the materials or announcements.

      1. One copy will be returned to the student who submitted the material.

      2. The second copy will be sent to the appropriate Administrative Director.

      3. The third copy will be retained by the principal/designee.

    10. If the principal/designee makes no decision within the prescribed time, the material or announcement will be considered approved.

  2. Appeal Procedures

    1. Any appeal of a principal/designee’s denial of a request to distribute information will be made to the Administrative Director within five (5) school days of the denial. The Administrative Director’s decision will be forwarded to the appellant in writing within two (2) school days after receipt of the appeal.

    2. Any appeal following the Administrative Director’s denial of a request to distribute information will be made to the Superintendent of Schools within five (5) school days of the denial. The decision of the Superintendent of Schools will be forwarded to the appellant within two (2) school days.

    3. Further right of appeal is governed by Section 4-205 of the Education Article of The Annotated Code of Maryland.

III. History

ADOPTED: December 13, 1990

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED: August 16, 2012

REVISED: May 14, 1992, July 14, 2005, July 13, 2006, June 28, 2007, March 10, 2016

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2016