602R - Community Communications

A. Community Communications

The existence of good communications between the School Board and the public is essential to the development and effectiveness of Frederick County Public Schools.

B. School Board-Parent-Student Communications and Media Access to Students

Effective communications with parents are essential. Broad dissemination of a parent- student information book and use of other ongoing formal and informal channels and forms of communication with parents shall be part of every school’s communications efforts.

As a service, the Frederick County Public Schools operates a local cable access channel to inform the community about school events. Also, on occasion, photographs or other images or work of students are produced through a wide range of school-related activities, and such individual or group images or work may be used on the local cable access channel, by the Frederick County Educational Foundation or in connection with school promotions, publications, videotapes or digital media, exhibitions, features or on a school or division sponsored web site.

Frederick County Public Schools is frequently the subject of coverage by print, broadcast, and electronic media. Frederick County Public Schools shall establish and foster mutually beneficial relationships with media representatives as part of an ongoing program that recognizes the importance of print, broadcast, and electronic media coverage in communicating to the larger school community and beyond.

In the interest of protecting student safety and respecting a parent/guardian’s role in authorizing the storage or use of any image or voice recordings or other similar identifying information on a student during school-day operations, media representatives and the Frederick County Educational Foundation shall work to ensure parental permission has been granted prior to obtaining any image or voice recordings or other similar identifying information on a student. Such information is designated as part of the directory information on students. The principal or designee or staff of the FCPS Policy, Records Management and Communications Office will endeavor to assist a media representative or the Frederick County Educational Foundation in determining if parental permission has been secured.

Parents and eligible students must annually notify the office of the student’s school in writing if they do not want the school division, the media, or the Frederick County Educational Foundation to have access to their image, voice recordings or other similar identifying information during school-day operations; otherwise, they will be deemed to have given their permission for publication and/or broadcast of their image, voice recordings, other similar identifying information, and work by the school division, the media and the Frederick County Educational Foundation. Such notification will remain in effect through the end of the current school year and must be renewed annually.

For purposes of this regulation, “school-day operations” include school-based activities or events (curricular, extra-curricular, co-curricular, and athletic) which are not specifically designated or regarded by school officials as open to the general public.

C. School Board-Employees Communications

Two-way communications with employees is critical to assuring that Frederick County Public Schools employees appreciate and have a shared commitment to serving the best educational interests of students in a manner consistent with policies of the School Board. Employees are encouraged to communicate in ways that respect the established chain of responsibility and reporting, but also may use other avenues of communication as recognized by the policies of the School Board. Broad dissemination of a faculty-staff handbook and use of other ongoing formal and informal channels and forms of communication with employees shall be a part of every site’s employee communications initiatives.

D. Other Board-Agency-Organization Communications

Regular two-way communications with other boards and agencies are encouraged in order to promote cooperation and coordination that will benefit the Frederick County Public Schools and its students. Such communications will be governed by all applicable laws. Employees will serve as a school division representative on community and agency committees, task forces, boards, or other similar groups only when authorized to do so by the superintendent or designee.

E. Media Communications

All employees of the Frederick County Public Schools shall work cooperatively, in a closely coordinated manner, with the FCPS Policy, Records Management and Communications Office on all matters involving the media.

Because of the need to maintain reasonable school security, media representatives, as any other visitor to the schools during school-day operations, are expected to immediately present satisfactory identification and register their presence at the school principal’s office, requesting permission to be present at a particular location on school property for a specified purpose and time period during school-day operations. Once permission is granted by the principal/designee, the media representative at all times will conspicuously display school-issued identification that evidences permission to be on school property as a visitor and be accompanied by the principal or designee.

A principal or designee may decline a request for a media representative to be present during school-day operations if the representative’s presence is likely to disrupt school- day operations or the media representative has failed to comply with school procedures, School Board policy, or regulations. A principal or designee also may withdraw permission based upon the representative’s disruption of school-day operations or failure to comply with school procedures, School Board policy, or regulations.




Adopted: March 10, 2008 (Effective July 1, 2008)
Amended: June 16, 2009 (Effective July 1, 2009)