The Sioux Falls School District strives to maintain positive and productive relationships with media partners. The District defines “media” as those organizations that have a consistent publication date/time, an established audience of subscribers/viewers, and who operate with sound journalistic and news/information gathering practices.
Local media receive priority because public schools are made possible by local tax dollars. Regional and national media will be addressed as needed.
The following guidelines will help our media partners obtain the desired information, footage, and interviews:
Media must receive clearance from the Office of Community Relations prior to arriving on campus during the school day. Community Relations staff will assist in scheduling all media requests with District leaders.
Media representatives should check in at the front office immediately upon arriving on school property.
Requests for interviews and footage are expedited more efficiently if inquiries include details about the information you require, the individuals you are wishing to speak with, and any footage you are hoping to capture.
All inquiries and requests should be submitted through the applicable form on this page and will be handled by the Community Relations Department.
While the District works hard to provide information/data requested, there are instances when information/data cannot be shared by staff. There are various laws (state and federal) that govern what the District can and cannot release to the public when it comes to student-related information. Some of those include, but are not limited to:
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 34 CFR, Part 99 located at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
USDA Food and Nutrition Service National School Lunch Program at https://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp
PPRA Law - 20 U.S.C. § 1232h; 34 CFR Part 98
IDEA Law - 34 CFR 300.560–300.577
Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act - 16 CFR Part 312
So what does all that mean?
Simply put, the District cannot provide any information that is related to the individual student(s). The records are declared to be confidential and exempt from public records status. A "student record" is defined as virtually any information maintained by the school related to the student (current or former.) Release of such information by the District in verbal or document form would violate both state and federal laws.
The District values its employees and honors the working agreements signed by employee groups. These agreements are available online and in-person for the public to review. Personnel files and other applicable information regarding the staff are not public record. All evaluation records are considered personnel information and are not open to inspection or copying pursuant to SDCL 13-42-70.
The Sioux Falls School District does not comment on individual personnel matters.
Throughout the year there may be instances where representatives from the media want to be on a school campus or other District property. The District has various procedures/processes in place for visitors when they arrive at a school - with safety being the priority.
All visitors must check in at the school's front office and obtain permission to be on campus. This must be done prior to any video and audio recording.
Interviewing students on campus can only be done with the permission and supervision of school staff.
Students must have a media release signed by their parent/guardian on file allowing media interaction while at school.
Media visits should be pre-arranged to help expedite the process and minimize disruptions to the school day. Obtaining permission prior to any interaction with students allows school staff to verify that such a release is on file, allowing student(s) to participate.
The Communications Department contacts the school prior to media arriving to ensure students with the proper media clearance are pre-identified and available for interviews and/or photographs.
At times, “b-roll” footage of common spaces such as hallways, lockers, etc. can be arranged if the photographer agrees that no one student can be identified in order to protect those students without media releases.
When on school campuses or at a District office, media may be asked to wear/display identification to maintain the District’s Safe and Secure practices.
In times of emergencies or crisis situations, (lockdowns, bomb threats, etc.) media and other visitors are not allowed on campus.
There will be a media staging area established by the District and/or emergency response officials located as near the campus as possible.
Interviews/media briefings will take place in the designated location as new information becomes available.
When Communications Department staff arrive on the scene, their first priority will be to meet with the incident command to obtain the pertinent facts - interviews will be conducted as quickly as possible after information is collected.
As much information as feasible will be provided to the media, being mindful that the information shared cannot compromise the ongoing investigation/proceedings.
When the situation ends, media may be allowed on campus if it's determined their presence will not disrupt the operations of the school or any continued work by emergency response personnel.
In some instances, the District can access restricted areas and shoot "pool video" (b-roll) to be shared with the media.
The following guidelines have been provided to support the local media in its coverage of public meetings conducted by the Sioux Falls School Board while maintaining order and providing for the safety and security of all those in attendance.
Members of the media are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with School Board Policy KDD – Media Relations.
For meetings at the Instructional Planning Center:
In order to minimize disruption, media representatives are asked to maintain clear aisles and unobstructed access to entrances and exits.
If representatives intend to conduct interviews while the meeting is still in session, the media are asked to sit at the back of the room and to conduct their interviews in the lobby to minimize disruption.
Members of the media may approach School Board Members for interviews during a break, or before or after School Board meetings, workshops or briefings. All requests for interviews with the Superintendent or District staff must be coordinated in advance through the Community Relations Department.