District 205 communications chief shares protocol regarding media being allowed on school grounds

March 9, 2011

Some news organizations have taken issue with protocol requiring approval to enter a school. Approval is required for a variety of reasons including the need to protect the privacy rights of students and minimize distractions to valuable instructional time.

Principals have direct authority to involve the media in school events and classroom activities that are positive in nature and can be planned for in advance; this makes the presence of the news media an enhancement to learning.

The administration will not, however, grant access for the purpose of reporting on school closings or possible school closings. Any effort to accommodate the work of the news media is secondary to protecting the interests of students and staff.

Legal issues aside, class time simply should not be spent entertaining questions from reporters around controversial and emotional policy decisions pending before the Board of Education. The role of the administration is not to compound the anguish or frustration of students and staff by placing them in front of cameras and microphones at this difficult time.

Journalists are free to approach staff members and families for comment outside of school hours, and they may conduct business on school grounds so long as their business doesn’t interfere with school activities.

Mark Bonne
Chief Communications Officer
Rockford Public Schools

From the March 9-15, 2011, issue

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