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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 7-16

COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Expressive Activities

  1. General
    1. Virginia Beach City Public Schools are not open forums for purposes of public expression during the regular school day or when education-oriented activities are being conducted on school property. These restrictions are established in consideration of the potential for disruption caused by activities not related to the dedicated purpose of the public schools, i.e., to provide instruction to students.
    2. This Policy does not extend to the public sidewalks outside of and adjacent to property of the School Board.
    3. These restrictions are "content neutral" and apply to any individual or group, whether representing a non-profit, commercial, political or other interest.
  2. Restrictions
    1. No expressive activities (picketing, demonstrating, solicitation, public address, pamphlet distribution, canvassing, petitioning or sales of any nature) are permitted in the public schools, on school vehicles or in the parking areas, walkways and grounds constituting School Board property during the regular school day or when education-oriented activities such as night school, testing, school athletic activities and school social events are being conducted on school property.
    2. This prohibition shall not prevent expressive activities in any meeting space reserved for and in use by a private group or organization, consistent with School Board policies or agreements governing use of facilities.
    3. These conditions shall also not be applicable to participants in any school sponsored or organized activity held in conjunction with a course of instruction or school related activity. Nor shall these conditions be applicable to students/student groups acting in accordance with School Board Policies 5-38 Freedom of Speech, 5-39 Publications, and 5-40 Assemblies/Demonstrations and their applicable regulations.
    4. For purposes of this prohibition, the regular school day is defined as 30 minutes before the time the first students are scheduled to arrive at a particular school on School Board provided transportation until 30 minutes after the last students are scheduled to leave the school on School Board provided transportation.
  3. Use of Students
    1. Students shall not be required to convey or deliver any materials that: 1) advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for elective office; 2) advocate the passage or defeat of any referendum question; or 3) advocate the passage or defeat of any matter pending before a local school board, local governing body, the Virginia General Assembly, or the United States Congress. This prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit the discussion or use of political or issue-oriented materials as part of classroom discussions or projects or to prohibit the delivery of informational materials.
    2. While educators should encourage, but not require, students to take an active interest in national, state, and local elections through school-sponsored activities, school staff shall not encourage nor require a student to take part in the campaign or political activities of a particular candidate, party, or position over that of another candidate, party, or position.
  4. Exception for Election Day When School Used as Polling Place

    When school buildings or grounds are used as polling places, policy and regulations prohibiting posting signs and disseminating written material (except subsection C, above) shall be waived on the day of the election to permit distribution of written campaign and election materials to prospective voters in compliance with state election laws, provided this distribution does not interfere with the educational process. Materials and signs must be removed by the candidates or their representatives within 24 hours of the time the polls close or the School Administration may remove and discard the materials.

  5. Enforcement

    Any person in violation of any provision of this Policy should be advised of these restrictions and given the opportunity to comply. If the person thereafter fails to comply, the principal or his/her designee shall request him to leave, and if he refuses to do so, a police officer should be summoned and the person may be charged with trespassing.

Code of Virginia §24.2-604, as amended. Prohibited activities at polls; notice of prohibited area; presence of representatives of parties or candidates; simulated elections; observers; news media; penalties.

Code of Virginia §24.2-604.1, as amended. Signs for special entrances to polling places.

Code of Virginia §22.1-79.3, as amended. Policies regarding certain activities.

Adopted by School Board: December 19, 2000
Amended by School Board: May 9, 2006
Amended by School Board: August 19, 2014