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Distribution of Information (SC Policy #654 )

Communication Context

The public schools have regular and direct contact with more households in Shrewsbury than any other organization or institution. Consequently, there is a tendency to view the schools as a vehicle for communication, and a variety of companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals make requests of the schools to distribute information to families. Traditionally, such distribution was in paper format, e.g., approved flyers published by outside groups taken home by students, informational items embedded in school newsletters, etc. In recent years, the public schools have shifted much of their communication from paper to electronic, through electronic mail (e-mail) and web sites. As a result, requests to distribute information through these means have also increased. The policy below serves to provide the requirements and restrictions to those requesting the distribution of information through the Shrewsbury Public Schools. While outside groups have always borne the cost of paper and copying for the distribution of notices, there is a cost in time and labor associated with organization and distribution of such physical notices to students on the part of educators and support staff. Further, electronic communication is more effective in delivering information to parents directly. The procedures below outline the manner in which the school district will provide opportunities for approved communications to be distributed or hosted electronically. Policy The Shrewsbury Public Schools wishes to cooperate with community groups in distributing information about programs of interest to Shrewsbury families and children. The use of the schools for the distribution of information must be limited, however, because of the great number of requests received. As a result, the distribution of information in the Shrewsbury Public Schools will be limited to athletic, educational, cultural, recreational, and social activities for students and their families sponsored by non-profit groups based in the Town of Shrewsbury. The school district does not permit the distribution of information of for-profit organizations, commercial materials, and information not related to school activities and the schools’ educational mission. Finally, information is distributed without regard to the views expressed. The Shrewsbury School Committee does not, in any way, approve of, or endorse, the content or the activities being described in the information distributed or hosted electronically. Information from qualifying groups will be distributed or hosted electronically per the procedures described below. Paper-based distribution to families on behalf of such groups will not be provided. Exceptions that allow the paper-based distribution of informational materials through the schools by qualifying groups will only be allowed per the approval of the superintendent of schools or a designee. Exceptions to the policy may be granted by the superintendent of schools or a designee to distribute information on behalf of a group that wouldn't qualify but is in the direct interests of students and families (e.g., locally sponsored camps or clinics, yearbook sales, etc.).

Procedures

All requests for the distribution of information must be made in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Requests must be submitted to the office of the superintendent of schools one week in advance of distribution. The office of the superintendent will set a regular weekly distribution schedule for a “community bulletin" e-mail to be sent to a distribution list consisting of families of public school students and additional subscribers to the distribution list. The schedule may vary during school vacation periods.
  • Informational items requested to be included in an e-mail distribution must be limited to a maximum of 150 words, and may include links to a web site. The School Department is not responsible for editing informational items for content, grammar, or spelling, nor is it responsible for the content of any web site connected to a link provided.
  • The superintendent of schools, or a designee, will review the requests for compliance with the district's policy and communicate with the organization or individual making the request regarding approval for distribution.
  • Informational items for a single event will be included in up to two e-mail distributions; exceptions to this may be made by the superintendent of schools or a designee.
  • The School Department will establish a "community bulletin board" web page within the School Department's web site. Recent email distribution list messages will be archived there. Organizations allowed to distribute information per the above policy may request that electronic documents, in PDF format, to be posted on this web site; inclusion of such documents will be at the discretion of the superintendent of schools or a designee. Such documents may include informational flyers, registration forms, or other documents that may be helpful in communicating with families and / or assisting them in accessing opportunities within the community. The School Department is not responsible for editing such documents for content, grammar, or spelling. The superintendent of schools or a designee will determine the length of time a document will be posted on its web site.
  • Organizations connected to specific schools or other elements of school programming, such as a Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO), boosters groups, etc., may make requests of the school principal to have informational items included in a particular school's e-mail distribution and / or web site. In such cases, the principal or a designee will follow the same procedures outlined above.
  • Information about school events, fundraisers, and other activities may also be included in community bulletins and hosted on the community bulletin board web page, and may also be publicized through other communications originating within the school district. Such distribution will be at the discretion of the superintendent of schools, principal, or designee.
  • Information related to activities, such as fundraisers, that involve for-profit organizations may be distributed if such information is tied to an activity being sponsored by a qualifying group or the schools (e.g., the School Department may distribute information on behalf of a PTO regarding a fundraiser tied to a restaurant or other business, but the communication must be from the PTO, not the business).

Adopted 1/22/03

Revised 4/28/10