815 Acceptable Use of Internet, Computers and Network Resources
The Board supports use of the computers, Internet and other network resources in the district’s instructional and operational programs in order to facilitate learning, teaching and daily operations through interpersonal communications and access to information, research and collaboration.
The Internet and the World Wide Web is a vast information network that links individuals, computers, networks and databased throughout the world. The Internet has the potential to serve as an invaluable resource because it allows immediate access to and download of educational materials. All users must be aware that the Internet’s power to access limitless information resources also includes information or materials that lack educational value and can be inaccurate, controversial, objectionable, offensive, defamatory and even illegal. The district shall not condone the use of district technology resources for such purposes. All users shall be held responsible for ensuring use adheres to administrative regulations, rules and applicable Board polices.
The policy provides the terms and conditions that must be accepted by students, parents/guardians, staff, guests and affiliated agencies regarding the acceptable use, rules of behavior and access privileges to the Internet, email correspondence, the use of computer hardware and peripherals and the installation and maintenance of software.
The district provides students, staff and other authorized individuals with access to the district’s computers, electronic communication systems and network, which includes Internet access, whether wired or wireless, or by any other means.
The Internet provides new and exciting interactive communication technologies, such as podcasts, blogs, wikis and discussion groups. While such interactive technologies hold great educational potential for learning, such may be disruptive if improperly utilized. Use of such interactive technologies shall be related to district business or have an educational purpose.
For instructional purposes, the use of network facilities shall be consistent with the curriculum adopted by the district as well as the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities, and developmental levels of students, as well as the operational needs of the district.
The term child pornography is defined under both federal and state law.
Child pornography – under federal law, is any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where:
- The production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
- Such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
- Such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Child pornography – under state law, is any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of eighteen (18) years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act.
Commercial purposes shall mean offering goods or services or purchasing goods or services for personal use.
The term communication system refers to the entire technological infrastructure and encompasses the collective use of the Internet, Intranet, email, coaxial and wireless telephone, pagers, facsimile machines, computer hardware and peripherals, duplication machines, audio and video recording machines, television, CD/DVD/VCR recorders and players, still and motion picture cameras and projectors, digital environmental control systems, security and safety monitoring systems and any other instrument or device used to transmit and receive electronic literary and/or audio and visual information.
The term harmful to minors is defined under both federal and state law.
Harmful to minors – under federal law, is any picture, image, graphic image file or other visual depiction that:
- Taken as a whole, with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex or excretion;
- Depicts, describes or represents in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
- Taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value as to minors.
Harmful to minors – under state law, is any depiction or representation in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, when it:
- Predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors;
- Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
- Taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value for minors.
Obscene – any material or performance, if:
- The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the subject matter taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest;
- The subject matter depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct described in the law to be obscene; and
- The subject matter, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value.
The term technology resources shall refer to any electronic device and instrument that uses, manages, carries or supports audio, video or data and includes, but is not limited to, information that shall be transmitted or received by radio, television, cable, microwave, telephone, computer systems, networks and fax machines.
Technology protection measure – a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors.
The term user applies to students enrolled in the district, district employees, substitutes, consultants, contractors, parents/guardians, guests and all affiliated agents.
The availability of access to electronic information does not imply endorsement by the district of the content, nor does the district guarantee the accuracy of information received. The district shall not be responsible for any information that may be lost, damaged or unavailable when using the network or for any information that is retrieved via the Internet.
The district shall not be responsible for any unauthorized charges or fees resulting from access to the Internet or other network resources.
The Board declares that computer and network use is a privilege, not a right. The district’s computer and network resources are the property of the district. Users shall have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, delete, receive or display on or over the district’s Internet, computers or network resources, including personal files or any use of the district’s Internet, computers or network resources. The district reserves the right to monitor, track, and log network access and use; monitor fileserver space utilization by district users; or deny access to prevent unauthorized, inappropriate or illegal activity and may revoke access privileges and/or administer appropriate disciplinary action. The district shall cooperate to the extent legally required with the Internet Service Provider (ISP), local, state and federal officials in any investigation concerning or related to the misuse of the district’s Internet, computers and network resources.
The Board requires all users to fully comply with this policy and to immediately report any violations or suspicious activities to the Superintendent or designee.
The Board establishes the following materials, in addition to those stated in law and defined in this policy, that are inappropriate for access by minors:
- Lewd, rude, disrespectful, vulgar, obscene or profane.
- Harassing or discriminatory.
The district reserves the right to restrict access to any Internet sites or functions it deems inappropriate through established Board policy, or the use of software and/or online server blocking. Specifically, the district operates and enforces a technology protection measure(s) that blocks or filters access to inappropriate matter by minors on its computers used and accessible to adults and students. The technology protection measure shall be enforced during use of computers with Internet access.
Upon request by students or staff, the Superintendent or designee shall expedite a review and may authorize the disabling of Internet blocking/filtering software to enable access to material that is blocked through technology protection measures but is not prohibited by this policy.
Upon request by students or staff, building administrators may authorize the temporary disabling of Internet blocking/filtering software to enable access for bona fide research or for other lawful purposes. Written permission from the parent/guardian is required prior to disabling Internet blocking/filtering software for a student’s use. If a request for temporary disabling of Internet blocking/filtering software is denied, the requesting student or staff member may appeal the denial to the Superintendent or designee for expedited review.
Delegation of Responsibility
The district shall make every effort to ensure that this resource is used responsibly by students and staff.
The district shall inform staff, students, parents/guardians and other users about this policy through employee and student handbooks, posting on the district website, and by other appropriate methods. A copy of this policy shall be provided to parents/guardians, upon written request.
The district encourages parents/guardians to review this policy and discuss with the student(s) what material shall and shall not be acceptable for access through the district’s technology resources.
Users of district networks or district-owned equipment shall, prior to being given access or being issued equipment, sign user agreements acknowledging awareness of the provisions of this policy, and awareness that the district uses monitoring systems to monitor and detect inappropriate use and tracking systems to track and recover lost or stolen equipment.
Student user agreements shall also be signed by a parent/guardian.
Administrators, teachers and staff have a professional responsibility to work together to help students develop the intellectual skills necessary to discern among information sources, to identify information appropriate to their age and developmental levels, and to evaluate and use the information to meet their educational goals.
Students, staff and other authorized individuals have the responsibility to respect and protect the rights of every other user in the district and on the Internet.
Building administrators shall make initial determinations of whether inappropriate use has occurred.
The Superintendent or designee shall be responsible for recommending technology and developing procedures used to determine whether the district’s computers are being used for purposes prohibited by law or for accessing sexually explicit materials. The procedures shall include but not be limited to:
- Utilizing a technology protection measure that blocks or filters Internet access for minors and adults to certain visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, harmful to minors with respect to use by minors, or determined inappropriate for use by minors by the Board.
- Maintaining and securing a usage log for users.
- Monitoring online activities of minors.
The Superintendent or designee shall develop and implement administrative regulations that ensure students are educated on network etiquette and other appropriate online behavior, including:
- Interaction with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms.
- Cyberbullying awareness and response.
The Instructional Technology Specialist or designee shall be authorized to install hardware and devices.
The Board supports and promotes positive and effective digital citizenship among all district users.
Network accounts shall be used only by the authorized owner of the account for its approved purpose. Network users shall respect the privacy of other users on the system.
Employee access to technologies and communication systems shall immediately cease when the user shall no longer be employed with the district.
Student access to technologies and communication systems shall immediately cease when the student shall no longer be enrolled in the district.
It is the district’s goal to protect users of the network from harassment and unwanted or unsolicited electronic communications. Any network user who receives threatening or unwelcome electronic communications or inadvertently visits or accesses an inappropriate site shall report such immediately to a teacher, administrator or designated district employee. Network users shall not reveal personal information to other users on the network, including chat rooms, email, social networking websites, etc.
Internet safety measures shall effectively address the following:
- Control of access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web.
- Safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
- Prevention of unauthorized online access by minors, including “hacking” and other unlawful activities.
- Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors.
- Restriction of minors’ access to materials harmful to them.
All users are expected to act in a responsible, ethical and legal manner in accordance with district policy, accepted rules of network etiquette, and federal and state law. Specifically, the following uses are prohibited:
- Facilitating illegal activity.
- Engaging in any unauthorized commercial, for-profit or any business purpose.
- Engaging in unauthorized fundraising or advertising on behalf of the district or nonschool organizations.
- Engaging in activities that shall not support learning, instruction or operational and/or support processes.
- Product advertisement or political lobbying.
- Hate mail, discriminatory remarks, and offensive or inflammatory communication.
- Unauthorized or illegal installation, distribution, reproduction, or use of copyrighted materials.
- Wasting or overloading computer resources, such as printing large quantities of a document from a workstation.
- Accessing, sending, receiving, transferring, viewing, sharing, displaying or downloading obscene, pornographic, lewd, or otherwise illegal materials, images, text, audio or photographs.
- Access by students and minors to material that is harmful to minors or is determined inappropriate for minors in accordance with Board policy.
- Inappropriate language or profanity.
- Transmission or reproduction of material(s) that are slanderous, defamatory, likely to be offensive or objectionable to recipients or that otherwise violate existing laws and regulations.
- Inappropriate mass mailing, which includes spamming, flooding or bombing.
- Using electronic mail to harass or threaten others, including sending repeated, unwanted mail to another user.
- Initiating or propagating electronic chain letters.
- Intentional obtaining or modifying of files, passwords, and data belonging to other users.
- Impersonation of another user, anonymity and pseudonyms.
- Forging the identity of a user or machine in an electronic communication.
- Fraudulent copying, communications, or modification of materials in violation of copyright laws.
- Loading or using of unauthorized games, programs, files or other electronic media.
- Deliberately or carelessly installing or running a program intended to damage or to place excessive burden on a district computer system or network, including but not limited to, programs known as computer viruses, Trojan Horses and worms.
- Unauthorized scanning of the district’s technology systems for security vulnerabilities.
- Activities that serve no educational or operational purpose.
- Interfering with the normal operation of district Internet, computers or network resources or the work of other users.
- Destruction, modification, abuse or unauthorized access to network hardware, software and files.
- Accessing the Internet, district computers or other network resources without authorization.
- Unauthorized use of routers or switches, or configuring wireless technology, attempting to create network connections, or extending any computer, telephonic device, electronic communications system or network services, whether wired, wireless, cable or by other means.
- Attempting to circumvent data protection or uncover security loopholes and/or decrypt intentionally secure data.
- Unauthorized use of encryption software from any access point on district equipment or property.
- Disabling or bypassing the Internet blocking/filtering software without authorization.
- Accessing, sending, receiving, transferring, viewing, sharing or downloading confidential information without authorization.
- Unauthorized use of a computer account, including trespassing in another user’s folders, work, files or emails.
- Revealing any personal information about any users on web sites, blogs, podcasts, videos, wikis, email or as content on any other electronic medium that is accessible to the general public and in violation of state and federal laws concerning privacy.
- Quoting of personal communications in a public forum without the original author’s prior consent.
- Installation of personal software on district-owned hardware.
- Unauthorized connection of equipment, including nondistrict-owned personal computers or other Internet accessible devices on district premises, property or district events, to Internet, computers and/or network resources.
- Unauthorized installation of computer hardware, peripheral devices, network hardware or system hardware to Internet, computers and/or network resources.
System security is protected through the use of passwords. Failure to adequately protect or update passwords could result in unauthorized access to personal or district files. To protect the integrity of the system, these guidelines shall be followed:
- Employees and students shall not reveal their passwords to another individual.
- Users are not to use a computer that has been logged in under another student’s or employee’s name.
- Any user identified as a security risk or having a history of problems with other computer systems may be denied access to the network.
- Users must notify the designated district staff if a possible security problem has been identified.
The illegal use of copyrighted materials, such as but not limited to, software, music, sound files, movies, images or other copyrighted materials without the specific written permission of the copyright owner is generally prohibited. Any data uploaded to or downloaded from the network shall be subject to fair use guidelines and applicable laws and regulations.
Approved software installed on district-owned hardware shall be licensed by the district. Such license and the applicable purchase documentation shall be on file in the designated office.
The district shall establish and maintain a website and shall develop and modify its web pages to present information about the district under the direction of the Superintendent or designee. All users publishing content on the district website shall comply with this and other applicable district policies.
Users shall not copy or download information from the district website and disseminate such information on unauthorized web pages without authorization from the building principal.
Archive and Backup
Archive and backup shall be in accordance with applicable Board policy.
Limitations of Liability
The district makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, that the functions or services provided by or through the district’s systems shall be error-free or without defect.
The district shall not warrant the effectiveness of Internet filtering. The district shall not be responsible for material that shall be retrieved through the Internet or the consequences that may result from them.
The district shall not be responsible for any damages users may suffer, including, but not limited to, information that may be lost, damaged, delayed or unavailable when using the computers, network and electronic communications systems.
In no event shall the district be liable to the user for any damages, whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising from the use of district systems.
Consequences for Inappropriate Use
The network user shall be responsible for damages to the equipment, systems, and software resulting from deliberate or willful acts.
Illegal use of the network; intentional deletion or damage to files or data belonging to others; copyright violations; and theft of services shall be reported to the appropriate legal authorities for possible prosecution.
General rules for behavior and communications apply when using the Internet, in addition to the stipulations of this policy.
Vandalism shall result in loss of access privileges, disciplinary action, and/or legal proceedings. Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm or destroy data of another user, Internet or other networks; or damage of district technology resources. This includes, but is not limited to, uploading or creating computer viruses.
Failure to comply with this policy or inappropriate use of the Internet, district network or computers shall result in usage restrictions, loss of access privileges, disciplinary action, and/or legal proceedings.
A user account may be subject to search by law enforcement agencies under court order if such account contain information that may be used as evidence in a court of law.