SPSD Communications Guidelines
The South Panola School District recognizes the responsibility of the news media to provide accurate and timely information to the community concerning issues and events that occur in our schools. While we are committed to cooperating with the news media request for access to our schools and students, we are also obligated to protect the privacy of students and employees. To help facilitate media requests, we ask media to use the following information as a guide for media information.
Any news story relating to the following topics should be coordinated through the Communications Office by contacting Heather Cobb at 662-563-9361 or email email@example.com.
- Interview requests with Central Office/District staff, administrators, teachers or students
- District school policies and procedures, Board of Trustees
- Personnel issues (i.e., new coach hires or issues involving school personnel)
- Programs, initiatives or events relating to arts, academics or athletics (for example, athletic department changes, school fundraisers for a band trip, etc.)
- Inquiries about specific students in the South Panola School District
- Crisis or breaking news regarding any school within the South Panola School District
For requests for information directly related to a school (i.e., school events), media should directly contact the school’s principal. The Office of Communications will work closely with principals in regard to media requests.
- If a principal declines an interview, or if the media inquiry relates to a district issue rather than a specific school, the Communications Director or the Superintendent will speak on the school’s behalf or provide a spokesperson.
Media Access to Schools
- The South Panola School District is committed to providing up-to-date information on the district and its activities in a timely and appropriate manner. It is the responsibility of the South Panola School District to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning with as few disruptions as possible.
- The South Panola School District recognizes the press having legal right to visit our schools, but in order to protect the privacy of the students and staff, media representatives (journalists, photojournalists, videographers, photographers) are not permitted on school grounds to interview, photograph or videotape without prior approval from the Communications Office, South Panola School District Superintendent or designee.
- At the discretion of the Communications Director, school/district administrators may grant media access and arrange interviews with staff and/or students.
- Interviews will not be conducted during school hours or on school property without the approval and presence of school/district administrator or designee.
- Before any student is photographed, videotaped or interviewed, consent must be granted by the student’s parent or legal guardian.
- Media are encouraged not to publish names or photos of any student or school district individual without making sure their photo can be published in any news medium format.
- As a general rule, media may take overall/general shots of students without parental consent during public school events (such as athletic games) as long as the students are not identified or singled out.
Request for Information
The South Panola School District ensures the protection of student/employee privacy and will not release any information that may reveal a student’s identity, respect the privacy of its teachers and employees and will not release any personal or personnel-related information unless required by law; not comment on any case that is before the courts; and refer all questions related to police investigations to proper authority.
The South Panola School District Superintendent can designate spokespeople to address issues relating to media inquiries. For media inquiries directly related to schools, each school’s principal can speak on issues impacting their school. Below is a list of designated spokespeople for the South Panola School District and their contact information.
South Panola School District
South Panola High School
Batesville Junior High School
Batesville Middle School
Dr. Ashley Fonte
Batesville Intermediate School
Batesville Elementary School
Dr. Jay Cossey