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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Policy 5-38


Freedom of Speech

A.  Generally

Schools, by their very nature, must encourage free inquiry and free expression of ideas. Oral expression is needed as a learning mechanism and as a psychological outlet. School should provide opportunities for the students to express themselves orally.

B.  Guidelines

1.  Students have the right to free and dynamic expression of ideas. Such expression shall include the personal opinion of students. Controversial ideas are not to be avoided.

2.  Students shall not be forced by any means to accept a purely personal and arbitrary opinion or idea.

3.  A forum for the expression of legitimate student concerns shall be established and maintained for the secondary schools and shall be attended by appropriate staff representatives when in session. It is recommended that the school follow one of the two methods described below, when setting up such a forum:

a. a sub-committee of the student cooperative association, or

b. a panel of students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

4.  Students who engage in offensive obscenity and slander during dialogues may subject themselves to discipline in accord with clearly defined policies of the school board and the implementing regulations of the school administration. The right of appeal on the part of the student is guaranteed.

5.  No person shall have the right to speak in such a way as to significantly disrupt the educational process.

6.  Any person speaking solely or partially for the purpose of infringing on the rights of others is beyond his or her right of freedom of speech

Editor's Note
For student publications see school board policy 5-39 and any implementing regulations.

Legal Reference:

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser, 106 S. Ct. 3159 (1986).


Adopted by School Board:  June 16, 1981
Amended by School Board:  August 21, 1990
Amended by School Board:  July 16, 1991
Amended by School Board:  June 15, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)