Freedom of Expression - Procedures - 3220-P

Mukilteo School District
Students - Series 3000
Freedom of Expression - Procedures - 3220-P

Students will enjoy the privilege of free verbal and written expression providing such expression does not disrupt the operation of the school. The principal will have the authority to monitor student verbal and written expression. Students who violate the standards established by Board Policy 3220 and this procedure or RCW Chapter 28A.600 will be subject to corrective action.

For purposes of verbal and written expression, the following guidelines should be in effect: 

  1. Distribution of written materials or presentation of an oral speech in an assembly or classroom setting may be restricted:

    1. where there is evidence which reasonably supports a forecast that the expression is likely to cause material and substantial disruption of, or interference with, school activities, which disruption or interference cannot be prevented by reasonably available, less restrictive means; or,

    2. where such expression unduly impinges upon the rights of others.

In order for written materials, a student publication, or speech to be disruptive, there must exist specific facts upon which it would be reasonable to forecast that a clear and present likelihood of an immediate, substantial disruption to normal school activity would occur if the material were published and distributed. Disruption includes, but is not necessarily limited to, student riots, destruction of property, widespread shouting, or boisterous conduct, or substantial student participation in a disruptive school boycott, sit-in, stand-in, walk-out or other related form of activity.

  1. Student expression will not be permitted if it would be in violation of the federal communications act or applicable federal communication commission rules or regulations, or otherwise in violation of District policies regarding lewd, vulgar, obscene, profane, and indecent conduct or communication. Sanctions may be imposed on a student when they engage in offensively "lewd and indecent speech."  Material may be considered profane when the language does not meet the standards of professional journalism as evidenced by the daily newspapers commonly distributed in the District. Guidelines for determining obscenity should be consistent with those as applied to instructional materials. Obscene material is generally what the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests; that the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable State law.

  2. Libelous material or speech is prohibited. Libelous material will be defined to include defamatory falsehoods about public figures, school leaders, or governmental officials. In order to be libelous, the defamatory falsehood must be made with actual malice, that is, with knowledge that it is false, or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

  3. Publications may not "invade the privacy" of individuals. Such occurrences may include exploitation of one's personality, publications of one's private affairs with which the public has no legitimate concern, or wrongful intrusion into one's private activities in a manner that can cause mental suffering, shame, or humiliation to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.

  4. Student expression that incites the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, the violation of law, or the violation of lawful District policies and procedures is prohibited.

  5. Student expression that constitutes discriminatory disparagement under RCW Chapter 28A.642 or violates the District’s policy or procedure related to the prohibition of harassment, intimidation or bullying or nondiscrimination is discrimination and therefore prohibited.

June 8, 1998
January 8, 2024