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Viewing Policy: BP 6145.5 – Student Organizations and Equal Access

BP 6145.5


Student Organizations and Equal Access


The San Benito County Office of Education believes that student groups or clubs reinforce the instructional program, give students experience in civics and government, and provide social and recreational activities. Student groups also serve to honor outstanding student achievement and enhance school spirit and students’ sense of belonging.  Prior to meeting on school grounds, all student groups shall be authorized by the principal or designee in accordance with San Benito County Board of Education (County Board) policy and administrative regulation.


All student-initiated groups shall be given equal access to meet on school premises during noninstructional time without regard to their religious, political, philosophical, or other speech content.  The County Board shall ensure that:  (20 USC 4071, 4072)


  1. The meeting shall be voluntary and student-initiated.


  1. There shall be no sponsorship of the meeting by the school or staff. The term sponsorship means that school staff are promoting, leading, or participating in a meeting.  The assignment of a teacher, administrator, or other school employee to a meeting for custodial purposes shall not constitute sponsorship of the meeting.


  1. Employees of the school shall be present at religious meetings only in a nonparticipatory capacity.


  1. The meeting shall not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school.


  1. Nonschool persons shall not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of student groups.


All student clubs or groups shall have equal access to the school media to announce meetings, including the public address system, the school newspaper, bulletin boards, and school web site. However, the principal or designee may issue a disclaimer that such activities are not school-sponsored.


All noncurriculum-related student groups shall be given equal access to meeting space, school equipment, and supplies.


Legal Reference:


52  Designation of secondary schools

53  Designation of high schools

200-262.3  Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex

38130-38138  Civic Center Act

48900  Hazing

48907  Student exercise of free expression

48930-48938  Student organizations

48950  Freedom of speech

49020-49023  Athletic programs


627-627.10  Access to school premises


2  Definitions

5531  Supervision of extracurricular activities of students


4071-4074 Equal Access Act

7904  School prayer

7905  Boy Scouts equal access


20101-240112  Patriotic organizations


Prince v. Jacoby, (2001) 303 F.3d 1074

Culbertson et al. v. Oakridge School District, (2002) 258 F.3d 1061

Good News Club et al. v. Milford Central School, (2001) 121 S.Ct. 2093

Ceniceros v. Board of Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District, (1997) 106 F.3d 878

Board of Education of Westside Community School District v. Mergens By and Through Mergens (1989, 8th Cir.) 867 F.2d 1076

Perumal et al v. Saddleback Valley Unified School District, (1988) 198 Cal. App. 3d 64

Student Coalition for Peace v. Lower Merion School District Board of Directors, (1985) 776 F.2d. 431

Hartzell v. Connell, (1984) 35 Cal. 3d 899


Policy Adopted: 11-30-17