California school board reverses advertising policy for student publications

Tuesday, a California school district voted to revise an advertising policy that banned advertising content in student publications that supports political candidates, has religious symbols or promotes illegal activities.  The policy, which was adopted Oct. 9, came after advertisements at two school’s football fields were criticized by parents and the local media.

The revised policy still limits commercial advertising on district property, such as football fields, but it does not restrict the advertising decisions of student publications, according to The Modesto Bee.

“I think it’s a delightfully appropriate decision on the part of the board and on the part of the administrators,” Karl Grubaugh, adviser for the Granite Bay High School Gazette, told the Bee.

Journalism and yearbook advisers and the Student Press Law Center brought the issues to the board’s attention in the two weeks following the decision.  The board took the policy from the California School Boards Association’s list of model policies and didn’t modify it much, said Scott Huber, a local attorney and board trustee. CSBA says the model policies are meant to be guidelines and should be tailored to each district’s needs.

Grubaugh said previously the policy was unnecessary because of student policies already in place that determine which advertisements to run.