The Bulldog Bulletin

Editorial Policy

As preservers and promoters of democracy, schools shall protect, encourage, and enhance speech and positive exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life. Students are protected in their exercise of expression by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Accordingly, school officials are responsible for ensuring freedom of expression for students.
The Bulldog Bulletin, the official non-school sponsored newspaper of Lakeview High School, has been established as a public forum for student expression and as a voice in uninhibited free speech. The Bulldog Bulletin should provide a full opportunity for students to inquire, question, and exchange ideas. Content should reflect all areas of different interest, including topics about which there is to be dissent or controversy.
Student journalism shall have the right to determine the content of official school publications, with the advice and teaching of the adviser. The Bulldog Bulletin and all its staff are protected by, and bound, to the principle of the First Amendment, and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various court decisions. Students, in turn, shall refrain from libel, obscenity, material disruption of the school process, and unwarranted invasion of privacy. These freedoms and responsibilities apply to all articles, letters, photographs, artwork, and advertisements which appear in the Bulldog Bulletin. The Bulldog Bulletin will not be reviewed, retained, nor withheld from distribution by school administrators prior to distribution, as long as the protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and various court decisions are followed.
In case questions arise over a specific copy as defined within these guidelines, the advice of a practicing communications attorney would be sought. The school urges student journalists to recognize that with editorial control comes a responsibility to follow professional journalism standards as expressed by the Society of Professional Journalists.
1. Students cannot publish nor distribute libelous material. If the allegedly libeled party is a “public figure” or “public official” as defined below, then [it must be proven] that the false statement was published “with actual malice,” that the student journalist knew the statement was false, or that he or she published with reckless disregard for the truth without trying to verify the truthfulness of the statement.
2. Students cannot publish or distribute material that is “obscene to minors.” “Minor” means any person under the age of 18.
3. Students cannot publish nor distribute material that will cause a “material and substantial disruption of school activities.”
A single member of the Bulldog Bulletin will not be held responsible for editorial content. Opinions expressed in the Bulldog Bulletin, if unsigned, do not necessarily reflect the views of either the administration or the school board. Signed opinions reflect the opinions of those who signed them.
The Bulldog Bulletin is a tool in the learning process of journalism, and operates as a laboratory situation. Mistakes of fact through this learning process will be acknowledged and corrected in a subsequent issue of the Bulldog Bulletin.
The Bulldog Bulletin editorial board, following the principles of the concept of public forum for student expression, will accept all letters to the editor, and other suggestions from any reader, inside or outside of school. In keeping with this concept of forum for student expression, the Bulldog Bulletin will publish letters to the editor, provided they contain the author’s last name, house, homeroom, and/or address. The Bulldog Bulletin editorial board as a whole will be responsible for determining editorial opinions which are printed. Letters will be published using “name withheld” providing the Bulldog Bulletin editor, managing editor, or news editor know the identity of the author. We reserve the right to withhold a letter or return it for more complete information if we determine it contains libel, obscenity, or material which will cause disruption of the school or invasion of privacy as defined by this policy. Letters will be edited for spelling and grammar and will be checked for verification. Should a letter contain errors in fact, excessive grammatical errors or being too long, it will be returned to the author for later resubmission.
These guidelines will be circulated to all student journalists.
PROTECTED SPEECH (as defined by current press law):
Based on the principles of the Society of Professional Journalists, students will be free to:
a. Report controversial, “fringe,” or minority opinions: topics that could be distasteful, unpopular, or unpleasant;
b. Publish or distribute material relating to sexual issues, but not limited to, virginity, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS;
c. Criticize the policies, practices, or performance of teacher, school officials, the school itself, or any public official.

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Editorial Policy