ADVERTISING ON SCHOOL PROPERTY
The following policy was presented for a first reading at the May 7, 2018 School Committee meeting and will be considered for adoption at the May 22, 2018 School Committee meeting.
This policy is designed to specifically address the placement of commercial advertisements on/at school facilities and school property owned and controlled by the Smithfield School Department.
It is the belief of the Smithfield School Department that commercial messages and/or advertisements are not public forums of any nature and that all advertising shall be commercial in nature. Furthermore, all advertising may be permitted at athletic or other school sponsored events in any school facility or on school property under ownership and control of the School Department, pursuant only to a written contract expressly permitting such advertising and only under and in compliance with the established policies, practices and guidelines approved by the Smithfield School Committee.
The purpose of this policy and its related practices and guidelines is to define the conditions upon which commercial messages and advertisements may be placed in school facilities or upon school property, and to establish definitive guidelines for the acceptance and placement of such messages or advertisements. It is the intent of the Smithfield School Department to preserve its full rights and discretion to restrict access to the school facilities and school property and to reject or refuse placement or require removal of any or all commercial messages or advertisements that do not comply with those guidelines.
All corporate support or activity must be consistent with the Smithfield School Department’s policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, age or sexual orientation, and must be age-appropriate for the students involved.
NO RIGHT TO ACCESS
All school facilities and school property are intended for and are for the exclusive use of the Smithfield Schools and its designees for the public purposes associated with education, athletics, community recreation and community activities and entertainment. No school facilities or school property shall be intended or considered as an open, limited or other public forum, and no person shall have a right to access and use any school facility or school property for any purpose other than the intended and authorized public purpose or service. Placement of commercial messages or advertisements in school facilities or on school property shall require specific authorization by the Smithfield School Committee.
FINAL APPROVAL TO REMAIN WITH SCHOOL COMMITTEE
The Smithfield School Committee delegates to the Superintendent of Schools the authority and responsibility of negotiating contracts on behalf of the School Department for the posting of commercial messages or advertisements in school facilities or on school property, provided, however, that the Superintendent shall have no authority to permit anything that is prohibited by this policy, its related guidelines and ordinances of the Town of Smithfield, and all applicable state laws and regulations, and that all tentative contracts are subject to the final approval and signature of the Smithfield School Committee.
Commercial messages or advertisements may be authorized and accepted only under the following guidelines:
- Commercial messages or advertisements shall not be accepted for placement directly upon or within any school facility or school property except as is specifically designated for the placement thereof.
2. Currently designated facilities for the placement of commercial messages and advertisements are as follows:
a. Scoreboards in all gymnasia and fields of the Smithfield Schools
b. The Anna McCabe Elementary School Basketball Court and scoreboard
c. The Boyle Athletic Complex
d. At such other locations as deemed appropriate by the Smithfield School Department
3. Examples of commercial messages or advertisements that contain any of the following characteristics will be prohibited and will not be accepted for placement on school facilities or upon school property:
a. Promotion of or reference to the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages in name, likeness or implication or the promotion of establishments that are licensed for and primarily sell alcoholic beverages, including bars; provided, however, that restaurants or other food service establishments and hotels or other places of lodging may be authorized when the commercial message or advertisement promotes only the food service or lodging (i.e., a restaurant or other food service establishment may not use in its advertising text the word bar, pub or tavern or other similar word denoting the sale of alcoholic beverages, even if such word is part of the name of the establishment);
b. Promotion of or reference to the sale or consumption of tobacco products or depiction of the use of tobacco products in any manner;
c. Commentary, advocacy or promotion of issues, candidates, campaigns or organizations of a social, political, religious or rhetorical nature;
d. Promotion of or reference to gambling, pari-mutuel betting, lotteries, or games of chance whether by name, likeness or implication or promotion of or reference to providing such services or activities of a related or similar nature;
e. Depiction in any form of nudity or semi-nudity, profanity, obscenity or lewdness or characterization that suggest, depict or promote any such element, or promotion of or reference to any sexually-oriented products, activities or materials such as massage parlors, escort services or establishments featuring x-rated or pornographic movies, contraceptive products or hygiene products of an intimate personal nature or advertising that is unlawful, or contains explicit messages or graphic representations pertaining to sexual content or contains offensive levels of sexual overtone, innuendo or double entendre;
f. Promotion in any form of or reference to illegal drugs, illegal drug use, or illegal drug materials, cannabis, cannabis dispensaries, or cannabis materials and/or accessories; or characterizations that suggest or depict the promotion or glorification of such products, activities or materials;
g. Promotion of or reference to the use or sale of firearms, explosives or other weapons; or the depiction, suggestion or glorification of violence or acts of a violent nature;
h. Use of words, foul or offensive language, representations or descriptive material of any kind having more than one meaning or connotation, one of which would otherwise be prohibited under this Policy;
i. Inclusion of materials, depictions, promotions or offerings that are the type prohibited by or by their nature would violate any postal restrictions or regulations or any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation;
j. Advertisements that describe or depict criminal activity in any way;
k. Advertisements that discriminate, harass, disparage, attack or demean on the basis of gender, ethnicity, race or religious belief;
l. Inclusion of any claims that in the judgment of the authorized representative of the School Committee or its legal counsel constitutes false, exaggerated, misleading or libelous claims, or that contains offensive or otherwise improper comparisons with other products or their makers;
m. Advertisements by political candidates for public office or advertisements concerning ballot issues; and
n. Advertisements that inhibit the function of the School Department, its schools or which is inconsistent with the school’s basic educational mission.
4. To protect the integrity of the school facilities or the school property under ownership and control of the School Department, and to ensure a proper measure of uniformity, durability and quality, the School Department may establish specifications for the types of permitted advertising surfaces and physical materials, and may reject advertising surfaces and materials that do not conform with those specifications or that are not otherwise deemed to be suitable. All advertising and materials used must be aesthetically pleasing and enhance the school environment.
5. Prior to any acceptance or placement of commercial messages or advertisements upon any school facilities or the school property under ownership and control of the Smithfield School Department, the specifications of the same, including all advertising copy or content and all materials by which such advertising shall be displayed, must be submitted to the School Committee for approval.
6. Any approval for the erection and display of commercial messages or advertising shall be made in writing as part of a written placement agreement, that shall at a minimum contain references to and the advertiser’s commitment and agreement to abide by this policy. The term and rate of compensation shall be negotiated by the Superintendent and submitted to the School Committee for approval.
EXEMPTIONS AND EXCEPTIONS
Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted to prohibit or require authorization for any of the following:
- Merchant or governmental identification, logos or trademarks appearing upon property acquired, installed or used in the construction or renovation of any of the facilities.
- Public service announcements or announcements of events directly related to services of Smithfield Schools.
- Product or vendor identifications in relation to authorizing merchandizing or vending operations conducted upon or about the school facilities or the school property under ownership and control by the Smithfield Schools.
AMENDMENTS TO POLICY
The School Committee reserves the right to amend this policy from time to time and no advertising contract entered into under any existing version of this policy shall serve to restrict or prevent the School Committee from making any such subsequent amendments.