Student publication policies on meeting agenda

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Policies for student publications will be discussed at Tuesday’s Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting.

Board Clerk Jelayne Curtis said the issue was a student publications issue, and could cover either the Plainsman yearbook or the Purple Press newspapers.

No action will be taken on changing student publications policy during the meeting, Curtis said. The discussion will include input from the board, lawyers advising the school, school employees and the public.

“We intend to have lots of discussion about the policy and lots of input from the board,” Curtis said, “and any individual from the community can speak on it.”

School board member Max Best said the item is not specifically addressing the 2008 CHS yearbook and its inclusion of lesbian couples, but instead of policy regarding student publications.

Best said the standard case is the 1988 Supreme Court decision of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. The decision upheld the right of public high school administrators at Hazelwood East High School in St. Louis to censor stories from a school-sponsored student newspaper. The decision was specific to student newspapers, but has been applied to yearbooks and literary magazines over the years.

“I think that’s the scope of our review,” Best said. “Does the school policy (work) in line with Hazelwood on what school boards can do?”

Any member of the community may speak about any issue, provided they fill out a discussion card before the meeting. Cards are available by the sign-in sheet outside of the board room.

The input, Curtis said, will be used in the construction of a policy that may possibly be voted on in August.