An answer to a two-part problem that has puzzled the Easton Area School Board for at least two years may be on the horizon.
The school board, meeting as a standing committee Tuesday night, agreed to consider at its meeting next week drafts of policies governing student expression and how non-school groups can get information to students.
The amended draft policies were submitted with changes suggested by solicitor John Freund, based on recent court rulings.
The policy on student expression limits the distribution and posting of non-school materials to places and times set forth in administrative regulations.
The superintendent will help building principals in determining the appropriate times and places, the policy says.
Students who want to distribute or post such materials must notify the building principal a week in advance.
In the case of a non-school group wanting to disseminate information, an authorized representative of the group must make the request to the building principal, who will pass it along to the superintendent for final approval.
Materials from non-school groups may be distributed by school-sponsored organizations involved in fund-raising and community service, as long as the superintendent approves.
Requests for student participation in community sponsored activities must be made to the building principal, and the school schedule may not be interrupted unless a majority of students would benefit from their participation.
Solicitations and sale of travel services for foreign trips will not be allowed.
Freund told the board members they could try to exclude all non-school materials from being distributed or posted. But once a group like the Boy Scouts is allowed to hand out materials, "you have to hand out [other groups'] materials," Freund pointed out.
The fear of allowing non-school materials, said Freund, is that "kids will be message mules for outside organizations."
Board member Dr. Robert Moskaitis advised his colleagues not to fret unduly about the policies. Noting that the board has been waiting until the courts ruled on such matters, he said, "The court ruling has arrived, so let's follow the court ruling. ... I trust 95 percent of all the things going home will benefit [students]."
As for their parents, Moskaitis said, "Electronically, you have a delete key [for unwanted messages]. At home, you have a trash can. I think we should put our confidence in the people."