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904-Distribution of Materials on SD Property

  • 900 Series: School/Community Relations
904-Distribution of Materials on SD Property
Rationale Date Approved/Revised
The purpose of this policy is to provide for distribution of materials appropriate to the school setting by non-staff, and school staff acting on behalf of a non-school organization and non-students on school district property in a reasonable time, place, and manner which does not disrupt the educational program nor interfere with the educational objectives of the school district
  • 6/23/09
  • Revised:11/22/11
  • Revised: 9/25/12
  • Revised: 5/27/14
  • Revised: 5/21/19

1)  General Statement of Policy

a)            The school district intends to provide a method for non-school persons, and non-school organizations to distribute materials appropriate to the school setting, within the limitations and provisions of this policy.

b)            To provide for orderly and non-disruptive distribution of materials, the school board adopts the following regulations and procedures.

2)  Definitions

a)                “Disclaimer” means a statement specifying the name of the organization sponsoring the name of

organization sponsoring the event or activity so it is clear to the public that the materials do not represent the district or its schools.  For example, “This event, class or activity is not sponsored or endorsed by School District 622.”                           

               b)            “Distribute” or “Distribution” means circulation or dissemination of materials by means of handing out free copies, selling or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies, posting or displaying material, or placing materials in internal staff or student mailboxes.

c)         “Materials” includes all materials and objects intended by non-school persons or non-school organizations for distribution.  Examples of non-school-sponsored materials include but are not limited to leaflets, brochures, buttons, badges, flyers, petitions, posters, underground newspapers whether written by students, employees or others, and tangible objects.

               d)            “Non-school person” means any person who is not currently enrolled as a student in or employed by the school district.

               e)            “Obscene to minors” means:

1.         The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors of the age to whom distribution is requested;

                              2.            The material depicts or describes, in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community concerning how such conduct should be presented to minors of the age to whom distribution is requested, sexual conduct such as intimate sexual acts (normal or perverted), masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

                              3.            The material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

               f)             “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen (18).

               g)            “Material and substantial disruption” of a normal school activity means:

                              1.            Where the normal school activity is an educational program of the school district for which student attendance is compulsory, “material and substantial disruption” is defined as any disruption which interferes with or impedes the implementation of that program.

                              2.            Where the normal school activity is voluntary in nature (including school athletic events, school plays and concerts, and lunch periods) “material and substantial disruption” is defined as student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, conduct inappropriate to the event, participation in a school boycott, demonstration, sit-in, stand-in, walk-out, or other related forms of activity.

                                             In order for expression to be considered disruptive, there must exist specific facts upon      

                                             which the likelihood of disruption can be forecast, including past experience in the school,           

                                             current events influencing student activities and behavior, and instances of actual or

                                             threatened disruption relating to the written material in question.                                            

               h)            “School activities” means any activity sponsored by the school, including but not limited to, classroom work, library activities, physical education classes, official assemblies and other similar gatherings, school athletic contests, band concerts, school plays, and in-school lunch periods.

               i)             “Libelous” is a false and unprivileged statement about a specific individual that tends to harm the individual's reputation or to lower him or her in the esteem of the community. 

3)  Guidelines 

               a)            Non-school persons and organizations may, within the provisions of this policy, be granted permission to distribute, at reasonable times and places as set forth in this policy, and in a reasonable manner, materials and objects which are appropriate to the school setting as long as all materials include a disclaimer.

               b)            Requests for distribution of materials will be reviewed by the administration on a case- by-case basis.  However, distribution of the following materials by non-school persons is always prohibited.  Material is prohibited that:

                              1.            is obscene to minors;

                              2.            is libelous;

                              3.            is pervasively indecent or vulgar or contains any indecent or vulgar language or representations, with a determination made as to the appropriateness of the material for the age level of students to which it is intended.

                              4.            advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;

                              5.            advocates violence or other illegal conduct;

                              6.            constitutes insulting or fighting words, the very expression of which injures or harasses other people (e.g., threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person's race, religious or ethnic origin);

7.                presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or the manner of distribution, it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities, will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations.                                            

               c)            Permission for non-school persons to distribute materials by non-school persons on school district property is a privilege and not a right.  In making decisions regarding permission for such distribution, the administration will consider factors including, but not limited to the following:

                              1.            whether the material is educationally related;

                              2.            the extent to which distribution is likely to cause disruption of or interference with the school district's educational objectives, discipline or school activities;

                              3.            whether the materials can be distributed from the office or other isolated location so as to minimize disruption of traffic flow in hallways;

                              4.            the quantity or size of materials to be distributed;

                              5.            whether distribution would require assignment of school district staff, use of school district equipment or other resources;

                              6.            whether distribution would require that non-school persons be present on the school grounds;

7.         whether the materials are a solicitation for goods or services not requested by the recipients.

4) Time, Place, and Manner of Distribution

a)               If permission is granted pursuant to this policy for the distribution of any materials, the       

            time, place and manner of distribution will be solely within the discretion of the administration, consistent with the provisions of this policy.

5) Procedures

               a)            Any non-school person wishing to distribute materials must first submit for approval a copy of the materials to the superintendent or designee at least two weeks in advance of desired distribution time, together with a completed “Request for Dissemination” form which shall include:

                              1.            Name and phone number of the person submitting the request;

2.              Date(s) and time(s) of day of requested distribution;

3.              Location where material will be distributed;

                              4.            If intended for students, the grade(s) of students to whom the distribution is intended.                                         

b)            Within two school days, the superintendent or designee will review the request and render a         decision.  In the event that permission to distribute the materials is denied or limited, the person submitting the request should be informed of the reasons for the denial or limitation.                             

c)            If the person is dissatisfied with the decision of the superintendent or designee, the person may submit a written request for appeal to the superintendent.                             

d)                The decision of the superintendent may be appealed to the school board by submitting a written request.                             

               e)            Permission or denial of permission to distribute material does not imply approval or disapproval of its contents by either the school, the administration of the school, the school board, or the individual reviewing the material submitted.                             

6) Violation of Policy

a)      Any party violating this policy or distributing materials without permission will be directed to leave             

the school property immediately, and if necessary the police will be called.

7) Implementation

a)      The school district administration may develop any additional guidelines and procedures necessary     to implement this policy.

Adoption and Revision History

Incorporated Policies


This Policy Adopted:  March 24, 1998; Revised:  January 25, 2005; Rescinded:  June 23, 2009

Replaced Policy:  KI (Public Solicitation in the Schools) adopted May 11, 1978; KBF (Use of Students in Public Information Program) adopted August 27, 1981.

This Policy Adopted:  March 24, 1978

Revised:  January 25, 2005


MSBA 904


This Policy Adopted:  June 23, 2009; Revised:  November 22, 2011; Revised:  September 25, 2012; Revised:  May 27, 2014



This Policy Revised:  May 21, 2019


 Administrative Rule, Regulation and Procedure:  NA

Legal References               U.S. Const.; amend. I

                                             Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S. Ct. 562, 98 L.Ed.2d 592 (1988)

                                             Doe v. South Iron R-1 School District, 498 F.3d 878 (8th Cir. 2007)

                                             Bystrom v. Fridley High School, 822 F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987)

                                             Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788, 105 S. Ct. 3439,

                                             87 L.Ed.2d 567 (1985)

                                             Perry Education Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 103 S. Ct. 948, 74                                                                            L.Ed.2d 794 (1983)

                                             Roark v. South Iron R-1 School Dist., 573 F.3d 556 (8th Cir. 2009)

                                             Victory Through Jesus Sports Ministry Foundation v. Lee’s Summit R-7 School Dist., 640                                                             F.3d 329 (8th Cir. 2011), cert. denied _ U.S. _, 132 S.Ct. 592 (2011)


Cross References:                MSBA/MASA Model Policy 505 (Distribution of Nonschool-Sponsored Materials on School                                                  Premises by Students and Employees)

                                             MSBA/MASA Model Policy 512 (School-Sponsored Student Publications)