Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 16: Education

Chapter 003: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • §§ 141-144. Repealed. 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 79.

  • § 144a. Repealed. 2011, No. 58, § 31, eff. May 31, 2011.

  • § 144b. Redesignated. 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 19, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.

  • § 145. Repealed. 1961, No. 247, § 4.

  • §§ 146-151. Repealed. 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 79.

  • § 161. State Board of Education; appointment of members; term; vacancy

    The State Board shall consist of ten members. Two of the members shall be secondary students, one of whom shall be a full member and the other of whom shall be a junior member who may not vote. All members shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. In the appointment of the nonstudent members, priority shall be given to the selection of persons with a demonstrated commitment to ensuring quality education for Vermont students. To the extent possible, the members shall represent geographically diverse areas of the State. The Secretary shall serve on the State Board as a nonvoting member.

    (1) Upon the expiration of the respective terms of those members of the Board previously appointed, excluding the student members, the Governor shall, biennially in the month of February with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint members thereto for terms of six years. The terms shall begin March 1 of the year in which the appointments are made. A member serving a term of six years shall not be eligible for reappointment for successive terms.

    (2) In the event of any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Board, the Governor shall fill the vacancy with a qualified person whose appointment shall be for the unexpired portion of the term.

    (3) Biennially, the Board shall choose a member of the Board to be its chair.

    (4) Annually, using an application process that is open and accessible to all eligible students, the Governor shall appoint a Vermont secondary school student who will continue to be a secondary student for at least two years following taking office, to serve on the State Board for two years, beginning on July 1 of the year of appointment. The student member shall not vote during the first year and shall be a full and voting member during the second year of his or her term. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; amended 1975, No. 48, § 2, eff. date, at end of chair's term; 1997, No. 34, § 1; 1999, No. 74 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 27, 2000; 2011, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2013.)

  • § 162. Removal of Board members

    After notice and hearing, the Governor may remove a member of the State Board for incompetency, failure to discharge his or her duties, malfeasance, illegal acts, or other cause inimical to the welfare of the public schools; and in case of such removal, he or she shall appoint a person to fill the unexpired term. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)

  • § 163. Staff; meetings

    (a) The Board shall be supported by adequate staff, who shall report to the Board.

    (b) The Board shall meet monthly and shall hold special meetings as required for the performance of its duties. The times and places for regular and special meetings shall be designated by the Chair of the Board. The Chair shall call a special meeting upon the written request of any two members. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; amended 2011, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 1, 2013.)

  • § 164. State Board; general powers and duties

    The State Board shall evaluate education policy proposals, including timely evaluation of policies presented by the Governor and Secretary; engage local school board members and the broader education community; and establish and advance education policy for the State of Vermont. In addition to other specified duties, the Board shall:

    (1) Establish such advisory commissions as in the judgment of the Board will be of assistance to it in carrying out its duties. Advisory commission members shall serve with or without compensation at the discretion of the Board but shall receive actual expenses incurred in pursuance of their duties.

    (2) Have the authority to enter into agreements with school districts, municipalities, states, the United States, foundations, agencies, or individuals for service, educational programs, or research projects.

    (3) Examine and determine all appeals that by law are made to it and prescribe rules of practice in respect thereto, not inconsistent with law.

    (4) Review and comment on an Agency budget prepared by the Secretary for the Governor.

    (5) [Repealed.]

    (6) Make regulations governing the attendance and records of attendance of all students and the deportment of students attending public schools.

    (7) Adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 as necessary or appropriate for the execution of its powers and duties and of the powers and duties of all persons under its supervision and control.

    (8) [Repealed.]

    (9) Implement and continually update standards for student performance in appropriate content areas and at appropriate intervals in the continuum from kindergarten to grade 12 and methods of assessment to determine attainment of the standards for student performance. The standards shall be rigorous, challenging, and designed to prepare students to participate in and contribute to the democratic process and to compete in the global marketplace. The standards shall include a standard for reading level proficiency for students completing grade three.

    (10) [Repealed.]

    (11) If deemed advisable, determine educational standards for admission to and graduation from the public schools.

    (12) [Repealed.]

    (13) Be the State Board for the program of adult education and literacy and perform all the duties and powers prescribed by law pertaining to adult education and literacy and to act as the State approval agency for educational institutions conducting programs of adult education and literacy.

    (14) Adopt rules for approval of independent schools.

    (15) Establish criteria governing the establishment of a system for the receipt, deposit, accounting, and disbursement of all funds by supervisory unions and school districts.

    (16) In cooperation with the Secretary, ensure that the Agency develops information, plans, and assistance to aid in making technology and telecommunications available and coordinated in all school districts. The State Board shall develop guidelines for distribution of federal, State, or private funds designated for the development or expansion of distance learning technologies. The guidelines shall encourage, consistent with any terms or conditions established by the funding source, collaboration between schools and school districts to realize economic and educational efficiencies.

    (17) Report annually on the condition of education statewide and on a school-by-school basis. The report shall include information on attainment of standards for student performance adopted under subdivision (9) of this section, number and types of complaints of harassment, hazing, or bullying made pursuant to chapter 9, subchapter 5 of this title and responses to the complaints, financial resources and expenditures, and community social indicators. The report shall be organized and presented in a way that is easily understandable by the general public and that enables each school to determine its strengths and weaknesses. The Secretary shall use the information in the report to determine whether students in each school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other schools pursuant to subsection 165(b) of this title.

    (18) Ensure that Vermont's students, including students enrolled in secondary career technical education, have access to a substantially equal educational opportunity by developing a system to evaluate the equalizing effects of Vermont's education finance system and education quality standards under section 165 of this title.

    (19) [Repealed.]

    (20) Pursuant to section 806g of this title, constitute the State Council for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children and appoint to the Council a Compact Commissioner and Military Family Education Liaison, who may be the same person. The Board may appoint additional members.

    (21) Report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly on the progress the Board has made on the development of education policy for the State. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; amended 1971, No. 14, § 5, eff. March 11, 1971; 1975, No. 48, §§ 3, 14, eff. April 15, 1975; 1975, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1983, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(1); 1983, No. 248 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1987, No. 97, § 4, eff. June 23, 1987; 1987, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1989, No. 118, § 3; 1991, No. 24, § 11; 1991, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1997, No. 60, § 3, eff. June 26, 1997; 1997, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 1a; 1999, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 50, eff. July 1, 2003; 2005, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 44, § 29, eff. May 21, 2009; 2011, No. 43, § 2, eff. July 1, 2011; 2011, No. 45, § 7a, eff. May 24, 2011; 2011, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 1, 2013; 2013, No. 56, § 22, eff. May 30, 2013; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 8, 9, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 2015, No. 23, § 18; 2015, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

  • § 164a. Statewide Strategic Education Plan

    Beginning on July 1, 1998, the State Board shall adopt through a public process a statewide strategic education plan to describe how the Agency will help school boards to improve student performance. The State Board shall update and readopt the plan at least every five years. The goals of the plan shall be to strengthen coherence and consistency among State and local education goals, standards for student performance, assessments, professional development opportunities, and action plans and to provide support for local curriculum development. The plan shall include information as to the economic costs of implementation and the education benefits to be derived. (Added 1997, No. 60, § 6, eff. June 26, 1997; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 10, 11, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 165. Education quality standards; equal educational opportunities; independent school meeting education quality standards

    (a) In order to carry out Vermont's policy that all Vermont children will be afforded educational opportunities that are substantially equal in quality, each Vermont public school, including each career technical center, shall meet the following education quality standards:

    (1) The school, through a process including parents, teachers, students, and community members, develops, implements, and annually updates a continuous improvement plan to improve student performance within the school. The plan shall include goals and objectives for improved student learning and educational strategies and activities to achieve its goals. The plan shall also address the effectiveness of efforts made since the previous continuous improvement plan to ensure the school maintains a safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning environment that is free from harassment, hazing, and bullying. The school shall assess student performance under the plan using a method or methods of assessment developed under subdivision 164(9) of this title.

    (2) The school, at least annually, reports student performance results to community members in a format selected by the school board. In the case of a regional career technical center, the community means the school districts in the service region. The school report shall include:

    (A) Information indicating progress toward meeting standards from the most recent measure taken.

    (B) [Repealed.]

    (C) Information indicating progress toward meeting the goals of an annual continuous improvement plan.

    (D) Any other statistical information about the school or community that the school board deems necessary to place student performance results in context.

    (E)-(G) [Repealed.]

    (H) A description of how the school ensures that each student receives appropriate career counseling and program information regarding availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at career technical centers.

    (I) [Repealed.]

    (J) If the school is a secondary school, information and supporting data presented in a manner designed to protect student confidentiality on the dropout and graduation rates.

    (K) Data provided by the Secretary that enable a comparison with other schools, or school districts if school level data are not available, for cost-effectiveness. The Secretary shall establish which data are to be included pursuant to this subdivision and, notwithstanding that the other elements of the report are to be presented in a format selected by the school board, shall develop a common format to be used by each school in presenting the data to community members. The Secretary shall provide the most recent data available to each school no later than October 1 of each year. Data to be presented include student-to-teacher ratio, administrator-to-student ratio, administrator-to-teacher ratio, and cost per pupil.

    (3) The school substantially meets standards adopted by rule of the State Board regarding conditions, practices and resources of schools. The standards shall address those aspects of the following that are most closely associated with improving student performance:

    (A) school leadership, staffing, and support services;

    (B) instructional practices and curriculum leadership, content, and coordination;

    (C) educational materials and school facilities;

    (D) access to current technology.

    (4) The school shall provide for and the staff shall use needs-based professional development designed to improve the quality of education provided to the students and directly connected to standards for student performance established by the State Board and any other educational performance goals established by the school board.

    (5) The school uses staff evaluation to advance educational performance objectives.

    (6) The school ensures that students receive appropriate career counseling and program information regarding the availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at career technical centers. In addition, the school, if it is a secondary school, offers a genuine opportunity to access career technical education programs.

    (7) The school ensures that students are furnished educational services in accordance with any State or federal entitlements and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

    (8) The school maintains a safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning environment that is free from hazing, harassment, and bullying, and is based on sound instructional and classroom management practices and clear discipline policies that are consistently and effectively enforced.

    [Subsection (b) effective until July 1, 2020; see also subsection (b) effective July 1, 2020 set out below.]

    (b) Annually, the Secretary shall determine whether students in each Vermont public school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other public schools. If the Secretary determines that a school is not meeting the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance in relation to the standards for student performance set forth in subdivision 164(9) of this title, he or she shall describe in writing actions that a district must take in order to meet either or both sets of standards and shall provide technical assistance to the school. If the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress within two years of the determination, the Secretary shall recommend to the State Board one or more of the following actions:

    (1) continue technical assistance;

    (2) adjust supervisory union boundaries or responsibilities of the superintendency;

    (3) assume administrative control only to the extent necessary to correct deficiencies; or

    (4) close the school and require that the school district pay tuition to another public school or an approved independent school pursuant to chapter 21 of this title.

    [Subsection (b) effective July 1, 2020; see also subsection (b) effective until July 1, 2020 set out above.]

    (b) Annually, the Secretary shall determine whether students in each Vermont public school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other public schools. If the Secretary determines that a school is not meeting the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance in relation to the standards for student performance set forth in subdivision 164(9) of this title, he or she shall describe in writing actions that a district must take in order to meet either or both sets of standards and shall provide technical assistance to the school. If the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress within two years of the determination, the Secretary shall recommend to the State Board one or more of the following actions:

    (1) the Agency continue to provide technical assistance for one more cycle of review;

    (2) the State Board adjust supervisory union boundaries or responsibilities of the superintendency pursuant to section 261 of this title;

    (3) the Secretary assume administrative control of an individual school, school district, or supervisory union, including budgetary control to ensure sound financial practices, only to the extent necessary to correct deficiencies;

    (4) the State Board close an individual school or schools and require that the school district pay tuition to another public school or an approved independent school pursuant to chapter 21 of this title; or

    (5) the State Board require two or more school districts to consolidate their governance structures.

    (c) The State Board, after offering the school board an opportunity for a hearing, shall either dismiss the Secretary's recommendation or order that one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section be taken. The action ordered by the State Board shall be the least intrusive consistent with the need to provide students attending the school substantially equal educational opportunities. A school board aggrieved by an order of the State Board may appeal the order in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

    (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to entitle any student to educational programs or services identical to those received by students in the same or any other school district. Further, nothing in this section shall create a private right of action.

    (e) If the Secretary determines at any time that the failure of a school to meet the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section is severe or pervasive, potentially results in physical or emotional harm to students, or significant deprivation of equal education opportunities, and the school has either unreasonably refused to remedy the problem or its efforts have proved ineffective, he or she may recommend to the State Board one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section. The State Board shall then follow the procedure of subsection (c) of this section.

    (f) In order to be designated an independent school meeting education quality standards, an independent school shall participate in the education quality standards process of subsection (b) of this section. An independent school shall receive technical assistance in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b), but shall not be subject to subdivisions (b)(2)-(4) of this section. The school shall be an independent school meeting education quality standards unless the State Board, after opportunity for hearing, finds that:

    (1) the school has discontinued its participation in the education quality standards process; or

    (2) two or more years following a determination that the school is not meeting the education quality standards or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance, the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress toward meeting the standards. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; amended 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1987, No. 97, § 5, eff. June 23, 1987; 1989, No. 44, § 3, eff. June 1, 1990; 1997, No. 60, § 4, eff. July 1, 1998; 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 82, eff. March 11, 1998; 1997, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 1b; 1999, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 8, § 2; 2003, No. 68, § 46, eff. June 18, 2003; 2005, No. 54, § 1; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 12, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; 2015, No. 23, § 19; 2015, No. 46, § 40, eff. July 1, 2020; 2015, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2017, No. 49, § 26, eff. May 23, 2017.)

  • § 165a. Repealed. 1989, No. 44, § 7, eff. July 1, 1990.

  • § 166. Approved and recognized independent schools

    (a) Authority. An independent school may operate and provide elementary education or secondary education if it is either approved or recognized as set forth herein.

    (b) Approved independent schools. On application, the State Board shall approve an independent school that offers elementary or secondary education if it finds, after opportunity for hearing, that the school provides a minimum course of study pursuant to section 906 of this title and that it substantially complies with the Board's rules for approved independent schools. Except as provided in subdivision (6) of this subsection, the Board's rules must at minimum require that the school has the resources required to meet its stated objectives, including financial capacity, faculty who are qualified by training and experience in the areas in which they are assigned, and physical facilities and special services that are in accordance with any State or federal law or regulation. Approval may be granted without State Board evaluation in the case of any school accredited by a private, State, or regional agency recognized by the State Board for accrediting purposes.

    (1) On application, the State Board shall approve an independent school that offers kindergarten but no other graded education if it finds, after opportunity for hearing, that the school substantially complies with the Board's rules for approved independent kindergartens. The State Board may delegate to another State agency the authority to evaluate the safety and adequacy of the buildings in which kindergartens are conducted, but shall consider all findings and recommendations of any such agency in making its approval decision.

    (2) Approvals under this subsection (b) shall be for a term established by rule of the Board but not greater than five years.

    (3) An approved independent school shall provide to the parent or guardian responsible for each of its students, prior to accepting any money for a student, an accurate statement in writing of its status under this section, and a copy of this section. Failure to comply with this provision may create a permissible inference of false advertising in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 2005.

    (4) Each approved independent school shall provide to the Secretary on October 1 of each year the names, genders, dates of birth, and addresses of its enrolled students. Within seven days of the termination of a student's enrollment, the approved independent school shall notify the Secretary of the name and address of the student. The Secretary shall notify the appropriate school officials as provided in section 1126 of this title.

    (5) The State Board may revoke or suspend the approval of an approved independent school, after opportunity for hearing, for substantial failure to comply with the minimum course of study, for failure to comply with the Board's rules for approved independent schools, or for failure to report under subdivision (4) of this subsection (b). Upon revocation or suspension, students required to attend school who are enrolled in that school shall become truant unless they enroll in a public school, an approved or recognized independent school, or a home study program.

    (6) This subdivision (6) applies to an independent school located in Vermont that offers a distance learning program and that, because of its structure, does not meet some or all the rules of the State Board for approved independent schools. In order to be approved under this subdivision, a school shall meet the standards adopted by rule of the State Board for approved independent schools that can be applied to the applicant school and any other standards or rules adopted by the State Board regarding these types of schools. A school approved under this subdivision shall not be eligible to receive tuition payments from public school districts under chapter 21 of this title.

    (7) Approval for independent residential schools under this subsection is also contingent upon proof of the school's satisfactory completion of an annual fire safety inspection by the Department of Public Safety or its designee pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 173, subchapter 2. A certificate executed by the inspecting entity, declaring satisfactory completion of the inspection and identifying the date by which a new inspection must occur, shall be posted at the school in a public location. The school shall provide a copy of the certificate to the Secretary of Education after each annual inspection. The school shall pay the actual cost of the inspection unless waived or reduced by the inspecting entity.

    (c) Recognized independent schools. Upon filing an enrollment notice, a recognized independent school may provide elementary or secondary education in Vermont. The enrollment notice shall be on a form provided by the Secretary and shall be filed with the Secretary no earlier than three months before the beginning of the school year for the public schools in the town in which the applicant proposes to locate.

    (1) The enrollment notice shall contain the following information and assurances:

    (A) a statement that the school will be in session an amount of time substantially equivalent to that required for public schools;

    (B) a detailed description or outline of the minimum course of study for each grade level the school offers, and how the annual assessment of each student will be performed; and

    (C) assurances that:

    (i) the school will prepare and maintain attendance records for each student enrolled or regularly attending classes;

    (ii) at least once each year, the school will assess each student's progress, and will maintain records of that assessment, and present the result of that assessment to each student's parent or guardian;

    (iii) the school's educational program will include the minimum course of study set forth in section 906 of this title;

    (iv) the school will have teachers and materials sufficient to carry out the school's educational program; and

    (v) the school will meet such State and federal laws and regulations concerning its physical facilities and health and safety matters as are applicable to recognized independent schools.

    (2) If the Secretary has information that creates significant doubt about whether the school would be able to meet the requirements set forth in this subsection (c), the Secretary may call a hearing. At the hearing, the school shall establish that it can meet the requirements for recognized independent schools. Failure to do so shall result in a finding by the Secretary that the school must take specified action to come into compliance within a specified time frame or the children enrolled must attend another recognized independent school, a public school, an approved independent school, or a home study program, or be declared truant unless absent with legal excuse.

    (3) A recognized independent school shall provide to each student's parent or guardian a copy of its currently filed statement of objectives and a copy of this section. The copy shall be provided when the student enrolls or before September 1, whichever comes later. Failure to comply with this subsection may create a permissible inference of false advertising in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 2005.

    (4) A recognized independent school shall renew its enrollment notice annually. An independent school shall be recognized for a period not to exceed five years by the Secretary without need for filing an annual enrollment notice if:

    (A) it is recognized by an organization approved by the State Board for the purpose of recognizing such school; or

    (B) it is accredited by a private, state, or regional agency approved by the State Board for accrediting purposes; provided, however, nothing in this subdivision (4) shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary from initiating a hearing under this subsection (c).

    (5) If the Secretary has information that creates significant doubt about whether the school, once in operation, is meeting the requirements for recognized independent schools, the Secretary may call a hearing. At the hearing, the school shall establish that it has met the requirements for recognized independent schools. Failure to do so shall result in a finding by the Secretary that:

    (A) the school may not be in operation for the remainder of the school year and that the children are truant unless absent with legal excuse or enrolled in a public school, an independent school, another recognized independent school, or a home study program; or

    (B) the school must take specified action to come into compliance within a specified time frame or the school will not be permitted to operate for the remainder of the school year.

    (6) Each recognized independent school shall provide to the Secretary on October 1 of each year the names, genders, dates of birth, and addresses of its enrolled students. Within seven days of the termination of a student's enrollment, the recognized independent school shall notify the Secretary of the name and address of the student. The Secretary shall notify the appropriate school officials as provided in section 1126 of this title.

    (7) After the filing of the enrollment notice or at a hearing, if the school is unable to comply with any specific requirements due to deep religious conviction shared by an organized group, the Secretary may waive such requirements if he or she determines that the educational purposes of this subsection are being or will be substantially met.

    (d) Council of Independent Schools. A Council of Independent Schools is created consisting of 11 members, no fewer than three of whom shall be representatives of recognized independent schools. The Secretary shall appoint nine members from within the independent schools' community. The Secretary shall appoint two members from the public-at-large. Each member shall serve for two years and may be reappointed for up to an additional two terms. The Council shall adopt rules for its own operation. A chair shall be elected by and from among the members. The duties of the Council shall include advising the Secretary on policies and procedures with respect to independent schools. No hearing shall be initiated under this section before the State Board or by the Secretary until the recommendations of the Council have been sought and received. The recommendations of the Council, including any minority reports, shall be admissible at the hearing.

    (e) Harassment, hazing, and bullying policies. The board of trustees of an approved or recognized independent school operating in Vermont shall adopt harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies, establish procedures for dealing with harassment, hazing, and bullying of students, and provide notice of these. The provisions of chapter 9, subchapter 5 of this title for public schools shall apply to this subsection, except that the board shall follow its own procedures for adopting policy.

    (f) An approved independent school that accepts students for whom the district of residence pays tuition under chapter 21 of this title shall bill the sending district monthly for a State-placed student and shall not bill the sending district for any month in which the State-placed student was not enrolled.

    (g) An approved independent school that accepts students for whom the district of residence pays tuition under chapter 21 of this title shall use the assessment or assessments required under subdivision 164(9) of this title to measure attainment of standards for student performance of those students. In addition the school shall provide data related to the assessment or assessments as required by the Secretary. (Amended 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1983, No. 248 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1989, No. 44, § 1; 1993, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1995, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1997, No. 60, § 5, eff. June 26, 1997; 1997, No. 84 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1999, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2007, No. 66, § 2; 2007, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 9, 2008; 2009, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 21b; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 166a. Repealed. 1987, No. 97, § 8, eff. June 23, 1987.

  • § 166b. Home study program

    (a) Enrollment notice. A home study program shall send a written enrollment notice to the Secretary whenever it intends to enroll a child. Enrollments in home study programs shall expire on July 1. If a home study program intends to re-enroll a child for the following school year, a new notice under this section is required and may be submitted at any time after March 1. A notice under this subsection shall include the following:

    (1) The name, age, and month and year of birth of the child.

    (2) The names, mailing addresses, town of legal residence, and telephone numbers of the parents or guardians of the child.

    (3) For each child enrolled during the preceding year, any assessment of progress required under subsection (d) of this section.

    (4) For each child not previously enrolled in a Vermont public school or Vermont home study program, independent professional evidence on whether the child has a disability. A comprehensive evaluation to establish eligibilities for special education is not required, but may be ordered by a hearing officer after a hearing under this section.

    (5) Subject to the provisions of subsections (k) and (l) of this section, for each child being enrolled for the current year, a detailed outline or narrative that describes the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study, including any special services or adaptations to be made to accommodate any disability. Methods and materials to be used may be included but are not required.

    (6) The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures of the persons who will provide ongoing instruction in each subject area of the minimum course of study, as defined in subsection (i) of this section.

    (7) The signatures of all custodial parents or guardians who are legally authorized to make educational decisions for the student.

    (b) Notice to home study programs. Within 14 business days of receiving an enrollment notice, the Secretary or designee shall send the home study program a written acknowledgment of receipt. The acknowledgment shall include a determination:

    (1) either that the enrollment notice is complete and no further information is needed, or specifically identifying information required under subsection (a) of this section which is missing. If information is missing, the home study program shall provide the additional information in writing within 14 days; and

    (2) either that the child may be enrolled immediately or that the child may be enrolled 45 days after the enrollment notice was received. At any time before the child may be enrolled, the Secretary may order that a hearing be held. After notice of such a hearing is received, the child shall not be enrolled until after an order has been issued by the hearing officer to that effect.

    (c) Enrollment reports. Each home study program shall notify the Secretary within seven days of the day that any student ceases to be enrolled in the program. Within ten days of receiving any enrollment report, the Secretary shall notify the appropriate superintendent of schools.

    (d) Progress assessment. Each home study program shall assess annually the progress of each of its students. Progress shall be assessed in each subject area of the minimum course of study, as defined in subsection (i) of this section, by one or more of the following methods:

    (1) A report in a form designated by the Secretary, by a teacher licensed in Vermont. In determining the form of the report, the Secretary shall consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the Secretary to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the form of a teacher report.

    (2) A report prepared by the student's parents or instructor, or a teacher advisory service report from a publisher of a commercial curriculum, together with a portfolio of the student's work that includes work samples to demonstrate progress in each subject area in the minimum course of study.

    (3) The complete results of a standardized achievement test approved by the Secretary, administered in a manner approved by the testing company, and scored in accordance with this subdivision. In selecting the list of tests to be approved, the Secretary shall:

    (A) Consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the Secretary to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the test to be administered as a progress assessment for their own home study programs.

    (B) Select at least four tests to be scored by a testing company, and at least four tests to be administered and scored by a teacher licensed in Vermont who is not the parent or legal guardian of the student.

    (e) Hearings before enrollment. If the Secretary has information that creates a significant doubt about whether a home study program can or will provide a minimum course of study for a student who has not yet enrolled, the Secretary may call a hearing. At the hearing, the home study program shall establish that it has complied with this section and will provide the student with a minimum course of study.

    (f) Hearings after enrollment. If the Secretary has information that reasonably could be expected to justify an order of termination under this section, he or she may call a hearing. At the hearing, the Secretary shall establish one or more of the following:

    (1) the home study program has substantially failed to comply with the requirements of this section;

    (2) the home study program has substantially failed to provide a student with the minimum course of study;

    (3) the home study program will not provide a student with the minimum course of study.

    (g) Notice and procedure. Notice of any hearing shall include a brief summary of the material facts and shall be sent to each parent or guardian and each instructor of the student or students involved who are known to the Secretary. The hearing shall occur within 30 days of the day that notice is given or sent. If a notice concerns a child not yet enrolled in a home study program, enrollment shall not occur until an order has been issued after the hearing. The hearing shall be conducted by an impartial hearing officer appointed by the Secretary from a list approved by the State Board. At the request of the child's parent or guardian, the hearing officer shall conduct the hearing at a location in the vicinity of the home study program.

    (h) Order following hearing. After hearing evidence, the hearing officer shall enter an order within ten working days. If the child is not enrolled, the order shall provide that the child be enrolled or that enrollment be disallowed. If the child is enrolled, the order shall provide that enrollment be continued or that the enrollment be terminated. An order shall take effect immediately. Unless the hearing officer provides for a shorter period, an order disallowing or terminating enrollment shall extend until the end of the following school year, as defined in this title. If the order is to disallow or terminate the enrollment, a copy shall be given to the appropriate superintendent of schools, who shall take appropriate action to ensure that the child is enrolled in a school as required by this title. Following a hearing, the Secretary may petition the hearing officer to reopen the case only if there has been a material change in circumstances.

    (i) The minimum course of study required under this section shall be provided every school year, and the educational content provided shall be adapted in each area of study to the age and ability of each child and to any disability of the child. Nothing in this section requires that a home study program follow the program or methods used by the public schools. In this section, "minimum course of study" means:

    (1) For a child who is younger than 13 years of age, the subject areas listed in section 906 of this title.

    (2) For a child who is 13 years of age or older, the subject areas listed in subdivisions 906(b)(1), (2), (4), and (5) of this title, and other subject areas selected by the home study program. The child's progress in the elective areas shall not be subject to the annual progress assessment.

    (j) After the filing of the enrollment notice or at a hearing, if the home study program is unable to comply with any specific requirements due to deep religious conviction shared by an organized group, the Secretary may waive such requirements if he or she determines that the educational purposes of this section are being or will be substantially met.

    (k) A Vermont home study program that has successfully completed the last two consecutive school years of home study with any enrolled child, provided those two years fall within the most recent five years, shall not thereafter be required to submit an annual detailed outline or narrative describing the content of the minimum course of study. For the purposes of this subsection, successful completion of a home study program shall mean that, in each of the two consecutive years, the program has not been disallowed by order of a hearing officer, the previously enrolled student made progress commensurate with age and ability in all subject areas of the minimum course of study, and the home study program has otherwise complied with the requirements of this section.

    (l) A home study program that has successfully completed two consecutive school years of home study as defined in subsection (k) of this section shall not be exempt from any other requirements of this section and shall annually submit a description of special services and adaptations to accommodate any disability of the child consistent with subsection (i) of this section. In addition, the program shall submit a detailed outline or narrative describing the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study as part of its enrollment notice for each child who is 12 years old at the time the enrollment notice is submitted. (Added 1987, No. 97, § 3, eff. June 23, 1987; amended 1989, No. 44, § 6, eff. June 1, 1990; 1989, No. 118, § 3; 1991, No. 24, § 11; 1995, No. 100 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 167. High school equivalence certificate

    The State Board is authorized to grant high school equivalency certificates to any person who has not been graduated from a high school on the basis of credits earned in the U.S. Armed Forces, credits earned in approved schools for adults, or satisfactory scores obtained on approved examinations. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 18.)

  • § 167a. Contract for sale and distribution of historical textbook

    (a) The State Board may contract with the Vermont Historical Society or other organization or organizations that it deems responsible to permit the use of any rights and physical properties owned by the State of Vermont in the textbook, "Vermont, A History of the Green Mountain State" for reproduction of the textbook for sale and distribution to the general public.

    (b) The contracts shall provide among other provisions:

    (1) that libraries and public or private schools located within the State shall be allowed to purchase an adequate number of copies of the textbook for their own use at the actual cost of publication exclusive of promotional costs; and

    (2) that sales of the textbook to purchasers other than schools and libraries in the State of Vermont shall include provision for payment of royalty approved by the State Board to Edmund Fuller, author, but not to exceed 15 percent of the total retail selling price, the royalty to be paid by the organization or organizations; and

    (3) that there shall be paid into the State Treasury by the organization or organizations for the use of the State a percentage of the retail selling price of each textbook sold to the general public, the percentage to be agreed upon between the State Board and the organization or organizations. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 168. Redesignated. 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.

  • § 169. Redesignated. 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.

  • § 170. Control by federal agencies prohibited

    No department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States shall, because of any provision of this title, direct, supervise, control, or prescribe in any manner, the administration, personnel, curriculum, or instruction in the public schools of Vermont. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)

  • § 171. Repealed. 1983, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(2).

  • § 172. Redesignated. 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.

  • § 173. Redesignated. 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.

  • § 174. Repealed. 1981, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 2, 1982.


  • Subchapter 002: POSTSECONDARY SCHOOLS
  • § 175. Postsecondary educational institutions; closing

    (a) When an institution of higher education, whether or not chartered in this State, proposes to discontinue the regular course of instruction, either permanently or for a temporary period other than a customary vacation period, the institution shall:

    (1) promptly inform the State Board;

    (2) prepare the academic record of each current and former student in a form satisfactory to the State Board and including interpretive information required by the Board; and

    (3) deliver the records to a person designated by the State Board to act as permanent repository for the institution's records, together with the reasonable cost of entering and maintaining the records.

    (b) Persons acting as a repository may microfilm records received under this section.

    (c) Students and former students of the discontinuing institution shall be entitled to verified copies of their records upon payment of a reasonable fee.

    (d) When an institution of higher education is unable or unwilling to comply substantially with the record preparation and delivery requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the State Board shall bring an action in Superior Court to compel compliance with this section, and may in a proper case obtain temporary custody of the records.

    (e) When an institution of higher education is unable or unwilling to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the State Board may expend State funds necessary to ensure the proper storage and availability of the institution's records. The Attorney General shall then seek recovery under this subsection, in the name of the State, of all of the State's incurred costs and expenses, including attorney's fees, arising from the failure to comply. Claims under this subsection shall be a lien on all the property of a defaulting institution, until all claims under this subsection are satisfied. The lien shall take effect from the date of filing notice thereof in the records of the town or towns where property of the defaulting institution is located.

    (f) The State Board shall adopt rules under this section for its proper administration. The rules may include provisions for preparing and maintaining transferred records. Persons acting as a repository of records are bound only by maintenance provisions to which they agreed before receiving transferred records.

    (g) The Association of Vermont Independent Colleges (AVIC) shall maintain a memorandum of understanding with each of its member colleges under which each member college agrees to:

    (1) upon the request of AVIC, properly administer the student records of a member college that fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section; and

    (2) contribute on an equitable basis and in a manner determined in the sole discretion of AVIC to the costs of another AVIC member or other entity selected by AVIC maintaining the records of a member college that fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. (Added 1979, No. 49, § 1, eff. April 25, 1979; amended 2017, No. 49, § 36, eff. Oct. 1, 2017.)

  • § 176. Postsecondary schools chartered in Vermont

    (a) Applicability. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, any postsecondary school that operates primarily or exclusively in the State of Vermont is subject to this section.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Postsecondary school" means any person who offers or operates a program of college or professional education for credit or a degree and enrolls or intends to enroll students.

    (2) "Offer" includes the use in the name of an institution or in its promotional material of a term such as "college," "university," or "institute" that is intended to indicate that it is an institution that offers postsecondary education.

    (3) "Degree" means any award that is given by a postsecondary school for completion of a program or course and that is designated by the term degree, associate, bachelor, baccalaureate, master's, or doctorate, or any similar award that the State Board includes by rule.

    (4) "Operate" means to establish, keep, or maintain any facility or location from or through which education is offered or given, or educational degrees are offered or granted. The term includes contracting with any person to perform any such act.

    (5) "Accredited" means accredited by any regional, national, or programmatic institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    (c) State Board approval.

    (1) Every postsecondary school that is subject to this section shall:

    (A) apply for a certificate of approval from the State Board prior to registering its name with the Secretary of State pursuant to Title 11, Title 11A, or Title 11B;

    (B) apply for and receive a certificate of approval from the State Board prior to offering postsecondary credit-bearing courses or programs and prior to admitting the first student; and

    (C) provide written notification to each applicant for admission or enrollment, on an application, enrollment, or registration form to be signed by the applicant, that credits earned at the school are transferable at the discretion of the receiving school.

    (2) Every postsecondary school shall secure a certificate of degree-granting authority from the State Board before it confers or offers to confer a degree.

    (d) Exemptions. The following are exempt from the requirements of this section except for the requirements of subdivision (c)(1)(C) of this section:

    (1) Nondegree-granting and noncredit-granting programs of education sponsored by a trade, labor, business, or professional organization that are conducted solely for that organization's membership or for members of the particular industries or professions served by that organization.

    (2) The University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges.

    (3) Postsecondary schools currently licensed or approved by a Vermont State occupational licensing board.

    (4) Postsecondary schools that are accredited. The following postsecondary institutions are accredited, meet the criteria for exempt status, and are authorized to operate educational programs beyond secondary education, including programs leading to a degree or certificate: Bennington College, Champlain College, College of St. Joseph, Goddard College, Green Mountain College, Landmark College, Marlboro College, Middlebury College, New England Culinary Institute, Norwich University, Saint Michael's College, SIT Graduate Institute, Southern Vermont College, Sterling College, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Vermont Law School. This authorization is provided solely to the extent necessary to ensure institutional compliance with federal financial aid-related regulations, and it does not affect, rescind, or supersede any preexisting authorizations, charters, or other forms of recognition or authorization.

    (5) Nondegree-granting and noncredit-granting postsecondary schools that offer only training in specific trades or vocations.

    (6) Religious instruction that does not result in earning credits or a degree.

    (e) Issuance. On proper application, the State Board shall issue a certificate of approval or a certificate of degree-granting authority, or both, to an applicant whose goals, objectives, programs, and resources, including personnel, curriculum, finances, and facilities, are found by the State Board to be adequate and appropriate for the stated purpose and for the protection of students and the public interest. The certificate shall be for a term not exceeding five years. The certificate may be subject to conditions, terms, or limitations.

    (f) Renewal. Certificates under this section may be renewed on application in the same manner as originally issued.

    (g) Revocation. Any certificate may be revoked by the State Board at any time for good cause relating to the conditions, terms, and limitations of approval.

    (h) Advice. Prior to any action taken by the State Board with respect to any application for degree-granting authority, the Board shall obtain the advice of the Vermont Higher Education Council, Incorporated.

    (i) The Board may adopt rules and perform investigations in order to effectuate the purposes of this section.

    (j) In the event that a postsecondary school does not comply with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section or is denied the issuance of a certificate of approval or a certificate of degree-granting authority, the postsecondary school shall forthwith cease to operate.

    (k) The Attorney General, upon request of the State Board, may bring an action to enjoin the operation of a postsecondary school that is operating in violation of this section.

    (l) Any person, group, or entity, or any owner, officer, agent, or employee thereof, who willfully violates subsection (c) or (j) of this section shall be fined not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. Each day's violation shall be a separate violation.

    (m) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the State from participating in any interstate reciprocity agreement for the purpose of authorizing online postsecondary programs. For purposes of reciprocity between states for institutional authorization, the Secretary, or other Vermont agency as appropriate, shall investigate any complaints related to Vermont institutions participating in a recognized interstate reciprocity agreement. (Added 1981, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 2, 1982; amended 1989, No. 263 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 20, 1990; 2001, No. 19, § 1; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2011, No. 58, § 19, eff. May 31, 2011; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 23, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § E.500.4; 2017, No. 49, § 25, eff. May 23, 2017.)

  • § 176a. Postsecondary schools not chartered in Vermont

    (a) Applicability. Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, a postsecondary school that operates primarily outside the State of Vermont, offers or operates a program of college or professional education for credit or a degree, and wishes to operate in Vermont is subject to this section and to subsections 176(g) through (l) of this title.

    (b) [Repealed.]

    (c) Requirements. A postsecondary school subject to this section shall:

    (1) register its name with the Secretary of State pursuant to Title 11, 11A, or 11B;

    (2) secure accreditation by any regional, national, or programmatic institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education;

    (3) apply for and receive a certificate of approval or a certificate of degree-granting authority, or both pursuant to subsection 176(e) of this title prior to offering postsecondary credit-bearing courses or programs, admitting the first student, or conferring or offering to confer a degree to a student enrolled in its Vermont school;

    (4) meet any requirements for approval in its state of primary operation for the specific degree or credit-bearing course or program that it intends to offer in Vermont;

    (5) register with the Agency pursuant to State Board rule; and

    (6) provide written notification to each applicant for admission or enrollment, on an application, enrollment, or registration form to be signed by the applicant, that credits earned at the school are transferable at the discretion of the receiving school.

    (d) Renewal. After receiving initial approval, a postsecondary school subject to this section shall register annually with the State Board of Education by providing evidence of accreditation and approval by the state in which it primarily operates and any other documentation the Board requires. The State Board may refuse or revoke registration at any time for good cause.

    (e) Exemptions. The following are exempt from the provisions of this section:

    (1) Nondegree-granting and noncredit-granting programs of education sponsored by a trade, labor, business, or professional organization that are conducted solely for that organization's membership or for members of the particular industries or professions served by that organization.

    (2) Postsecondary schools currently licensed or approved by a Vermont occupational licensing board.

    (3) Nondegree-granting or noncredit-granting postsecondary schools that offer only training in specific trades or vocations.

    (4) Religious instruction that does not result in earning credits or a degree.

    (5) Programs of education offered solely via correspondence, the Internet, or electronic media, provided that the postsecondary school has no physical presence in Vermont. Evidence of a "physical presence" includes the existence of administrative offices, seminars conducted by a person who is physically present at the seminar location, the provision of direct services to students, and required physical gatherings.

    (6) Programs of education offered solely via the Internet or electronic media, provided that the program's home state has entered into an interstate reciprocity agreement with Vermont and the program:

    (A) is a member in good standing of the agreement within the home state; and

    (B) has no "physical presence" in Vermont as that term is defined in the agreement. (Added 1989, No. 263 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 20, 1990; amended 2001, No. 19, § 2; 2003, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2011, No. 58, § 20, eff. May 31, 2011; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § E.500.5.)

  • § 177. Postsecondary approval; fees

    (a) A postsecondary school subject to section 176 of this title shall pay:

    (1) a fee of $4,000.00 for an application for approval to offer credit-bearing courses;

    (2) a fee of $5,000.00 for an application for degree-granting authority if the postsecondary school is approved to offer credit-bearing courses; and

    (3) a fee of $7,500.00 if the school seeks approval under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection simultaneously.

    (b) If a postsecondary school that is subject to section 176 of this title and is operating within an unexpired certification period files an application to offer a new degree at the same level as a degree previously approved by the State Board, then the fee shall be based upon the actual costs to the Agency but shall not be less than $1,000.00 for each new degree.

    (c) A postsecondary school subject to section 176a of this title shall pay:

    (1) the fees set forth in subsection (a) of this section for initial review and approval pursuant to subdivision 176a(c)(3) of this title;

    (2) a fee of $1,000.00 for initial registration with the Agency pursuant to subdivision 176a(c)(5) of this title; and

    (3) an annual fee of $500.00 to renew its registration to operate in Vermont pursuant to subsection 176a(d) of this title.

    (d) Fees assessed under this section are not refundable.

    (e) Fees assessed under this section shall be credited to a special fund established and managed pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, and shall be available to the Agency to offset the costs of approval. (Added 1989, No. 263 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 20, 1990; amended 1997, No. 59, § 24, eff. June 30, 1997; 2003, No. 70 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. March 1, 2004; 2011, No. 58, § 21, eff. May 31, 2011; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)

  • § 178. Harassment and hazing prevention policies; postsecondary schools

    (a) The board of trustees or other governing body of each postsecondary school operating in Vermont shall adopt and ensure enforcement of a policy establishing that harassment as defined in subdivision 11(a)(26) of this title is a form of unlawful discrimination and therefore prohibited. The board shall also require the establishment of procedures to address complaints of discriminatory harassment and to initiate educational programs designed to prevent such conduct.

    (b) The board of trustees or other governing body of each postsecondary school operating in Vermont shall adopt and ensure enforcement of a policy prohibiting hazing, which shall define hazing in a manner that is at least as stringent as the definition contained in subdivision 11(a)(30) of this title. The policy shall include penalties or sanctions, or both for organizations that or individuals who engage in hazing; revocation or suspension of an organization's permission to operate or exist within the institution's purview if that organization knowingly permits, authorizes, or condones hazing; and clear delineation of circumstances under which hazing will be reported to a law enforcement agency. A summary of the policy shall be distributed to all students at least annually. (Added 2009, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 13, 2010; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)

  • § 179. Repealed. 2003, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.

  • § 180. Student rights-Freedom of expression

    (a) Findings.

    (1) The General Assembly finds that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental principles in our democratic society granted to every citizen of the nation by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to every resident of this State by Vt. Const. Ch. I, Art. 13.

    (2) These freedoms provide all citizens, including students, with the right to engage in robust and uninhibited discussion of issues.

    (3) The General Assembly intends to ensure free speech and free press protections for both public school students and students at public institutions of higher education in this State in order to encourage students to become educated, informed, and responsible members of society.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Media adviser" means an individual employed, appointed, or designated by a school or its governing body to supervise or provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.

    (2) "School" means a public postsecondary school operating in the State.

    (3) "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, written, published, or broadcast as part of a school-supported program or activity by a student journalist and is distributed or generally made available as part of a school-supported program or activity to an audience beyond the classroom in which the material is produced.

    (4) "Student journalist" means a student enrolled at a school who gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media.

    (5) "Student supervisor" is a student who is responsible for editing school-sponsored media.

    (c)(1) Subject to subsection (e) of this section, a student journalist may exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in school-sponsored media.

    (2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not be construed to be limited by the fact that the school-sponsored media are:

    (A) supported financially by a school or its governing body, or by use of facilities owned by the school; or

    (B) produced in conjunction with a class in which the student journalist is enrolled.

    (d)(1) Subject to subsection (e) of this section, the student supervisors of school-sponsored media are responsible for determining the content of their respective media.

    (2) Subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection, a media adviser may teach professional standards of English and journalism to student journalists.

    (e) This section shall not be construed to authorize or protect content of school-sponsored media that:

    (1) is libelous or slanderous;

    (2) constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;

    (3) may be defined as obscene, gratuitously profane, threatening, or intimidating;

    (4) may be defined as harassment, hazing, or bullying under section 11 of this title;

    (5) violates federal or State law; or

    (6) creates the imminent danger of materially or substantially disrupting the ability of the school to perform its educational mission.

    (f) Absent a showing that a particular publication will cause direct, immediate, and irreparable harm that would warrant the issuance of a prior restraint order against the private media, school officials are not authorized to censor or subject to prior restraint the content of school-sponsored media. Content shall not be suppressed solely because it involves political or controversial subject matter, or is critical of the school or its administration.

    (g) A student journalist may not be disciplined for acting in accordance with this section.

    (h) A media adviser may not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, or transferred for:

    (1) taking reasonable and appropriate action to protect a student journalist for engaging in conduct protected by this section; or

    (2) refusing to infringe on conduct that is protected by this section, by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or by the Vermont Constitution.

    (i) Each school or its governing body shall adopt a written policy consistent with the provisions of this section.

    (j) No expression made by students in school-sponsored media shall be deemed to be an expression of school policy. (Added 2017, No. 49, § 47, eff. May 23, 2017.)