Roseville school district’s policy draws freedom of speech concerns

Updated rules give superintendent right to approve all advertisements
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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The Roseville Joint Union High School District board of trustees' recent approval of a new advertising policy has led to concerns about the rules’ impact on free speech, and even a call from the Student Press Law Center in Virginia.

The board approved the new policy on Oct. 9, giving the superintendent the right to approve all advertisements in school publications, including newspapers and yearbooks. Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services Ron Severson said the new policy is based on the California School Board Association model and replaces the old rules last updated in 1978.

But not everyone was pleased with the changes.

“The concern was that the policy could potentially restrict student press rights as outlined in the education code,” Severson said in a news release issued Monday. “The intent of the policy was to regulate commercial advertising on high school campuses, not to restrict student rights in any way.”

The district is working with the Student Press Law Center and California School Board Association to revise the policy to address these concerns. The school board will revisit the item in November.

“Our students and their advisers have consistently produced exceptional and award-winning publications,” Severson said. “Our desire is to comply with the law and to further the excellent journalism instruction throughout the district.”