B. 6. Student Publications

 V. B. 6. Student Publications


Student publications are important elements of the instructional program and contribute directly to the accomplishment of the schools' goals. The West Warwick School Committee wishes to support the development of student produced school newspapers, annuals and magazines.

The school committee recognizes the students' constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression in our schools shall be interpreted as including, and not being contrary to:

1.     development of student responsibility in distinguishing between freedom and license.

2.     consideration by the faculty of the maturity levels of students and of appropriate standards of journalistic taste.

3.     care for the development of skills of written expression among students.

The regulation of student-publications shall be vested in the faculty advisor of the particular activity with provisions for direct appeal successively to the principal, the superintendent of schools and to the school committee.

Policy adopted: 4/23/81

Rights and Responsibilities

The West Warwick School Committee regulations concerned with student publications are necessary to insure that the legal and constitutional rights of all parties associated with the student media are protected. This is possible only if these regulations are honored by all concerned.


1. Responsibilities - Students participating in school publications and media should strive to achieve the production of material which:

a. is accurate and well researched.

b. refrains from obscenity and offensive slang.

c. helps to educate the student community including its rights and responsibilities.

d. demonstrates a leadership role for necessary reforms and innovations which improve the effectiveness of the learning environment within the school and community.

e. clearly distinguishes fact from opinion.

f. demonstrates objective journalism.

g. is neither slanderous nor libelous nor advocates illegal nor disruptive acts.

2. Rights - Subject to review by faculty advisors and the principal, students have the right to publish or broadcast:

a. controversial topics if they feel such publications or broadcasts are necessary.

b. criticism of school policies if they feel such criticism is merited or justified.

c. appeal any action which they feel violates their rights as stated in these regulations to the principal.


1. Role of Advisor

a. To oversee, yet delegate the responsibility of producing publications and broadcasts to the student staff.

b. To advise the students regarding sound journalism practices.

c. To act in a manner which promotes student respect for his or her ability and advice.

2. Responsibilities - The advisor(s) shall:

a. determine a method of selecting student editors.

b. determine a method of dismissing students from the staff when they fail to fulfill their responsibilities.

c. insure that the area provided for student media is kept in a condition which does not hinder a maximum number of students from becoming involved in this learning process.

d. supervise all financial transactions regarding the publication or broadcast media.

e. counsel students promptly and efficiently in respect to any problems encountered in publication or broadcast.

f. promote a situation where students can develop responsibility and be involved with the process of making decisions.

g. review all material prior to its publication or broadcast.

h. consult the principal for a final decision if the advisor's suggestions are rejected by the students.

3. Rights - The advisor shall:

a. have a schedule which enables him or her to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

b. determine if the student publication or broadcast media should be part of a formal course or an extra-curricular activity.

c. have all material scheduled for publication or broadcast ready for his or her review at least 48 hours prior to publication or broadcast.


1. Responsibilities - The principal shall:

a. recommend a faculty advisor who is qualified and/or has experience to fulfill the responsibilities of the position to the superintendent of schools.

b. insure that these regulations are implemented and followed by all parties concerned in respect to his or her school.

c. provide an adequate facility for students to work on the publication or broadcast media.


1. Responsibilities - The superintendent shall:

a. recommend to the school committee an advisor who is qualified and/or has experience to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.

b. insure that these regulations apply to all schools which possess student publications or broadcast media.

c. inform the school committee of any matter which raises a question concerning the implementation or enforcement of this policy.

West Warwick School Committee

1. Responsibilities - The West Warwick School Committee shall:

a. determine the policy for student media. If this policy includes regulation of student media, which limits freedom of expression on the part of the students, justification for such limitation must result from considerations for both the community's welfare and the school system's welfare.

b. attempt to solve all questions and problems concerning the implementation of this policy.

c. insure that the student media is recognized as part of the learning process and that the rights of the community, the students, the administrators, and the advisors are all protected.

d. consult legal assistance concerning any policy or regulation regarding student media which may infringe on any party's constitutional or legal rights.

e. consult legal assistance concerning the definition of legal responsibility for student media as it pertains to the school committee; superintendent, principal, advisors, and students.

Policy adopted: 4/23/81