Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy

  

This policy has been revised.  See current Student Handbook for new policy in its entirety. 

 

The DeKalb County School System will be offering access to the Internet.  To gain access, each student must obtain parental permission as verified by the signatures on the Internet Acceptable Use Policy Form, a tear out sheet in the new Student Handbook, which is now available at all schools.

The Internet provided by the Board is an instructional research and educational business tool for students and staff and shall not be used for private, personal use. Students and staff are responsible for appropriate behavior while using the Internet.  All users must sign the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.  The network should be protected at all times and any misuse reported promptly to the Superintendent.

There should be no inappropriate materials or language--no profane, abusive or impolite language used to communicate nor should materials be accessed which are not in line with the rules of school behavior.  No student or adult shall attempt to access an unacceptable site on the Internet, send objectionable or threatening messages to another employee, student, or anyone else, sign on using another person's password, change settings or addresses, or attempt to access another person's files.

All users should be careful to not violate copyright laws.  There should be no malicious or negligent damage to computers, computer systems, or networks.   School officials are required to report any threats, communications or access that might be a potential threat to the safety of the students and staff.

All students under the age of 18 must provide a signed parental permission form as a part of their acknowledgment of the Acceptable Use Policy.  It is the parent's right to decide whether or not to allow their child access to the Internet and electronic mail.  Students who violate this policy will be disciplined in keeping with the Code of Conduct.  

No radios are to be run through the Internet.  Radios use a large amount of bandwidth which slows the speed of Internet access.   There is a tremendous amount of activity on the system network during school hours.

All employees and others permitted access to the Internet through school computers must sign the Acceptable Use Policy.  Violations of this policy may result in a loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action.

Students nor adults are to delete/change network settings for any reason without permission from the Technology Department.  When problems occur, a technician will be assigned.

The Board reserves the right to remove users' access or records without warning.

The Board reserves the right to amend this policy.

 

DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

TECHNOLOGY

SAFETY AND ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY

                                                                                                                                                                            IFBI

Technology provides a means of communication that may enhance the instructional program. This technology is provided by the DeKalb County Board of Education as an instructional research and educational business tool for students and staff and shall not be used for private, personal, commercial or illegal use.

All employees, including substitutes, and others permitted access to the Network through school computers must sign the Safety and Acceptable Use Policy. Violations of this policy may result in a loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action. The Board reserves the right to remove users’ access or records without warning.

All students under the age of 18 must provide a signed parental permission form as a part of their acknowledgment of the Safety and Acceptable Use Policy. It is the right of the parents or guardians to decide whether or not to allow their children access to the Internet and electronic mail. Lesson plans will allow for non-users so that students will not be prevented from using a computer and the network resources such as Accelerated Reader and other related educational resources. Students who violate these policies will be disciplined in keeping with the DeKalb County Code of Conduct.

 What is the Internet?

The Internet is a global computer network made up of many smaller contributing networks connecting millions of computers and individual subscribers through the world. Internet access is coordinated through a complex association of government agencies and regional and state networks. While there is an abundance of valuable information, with this access comes the availability of material that may not be considered to be of educational value in the context of the school setting.

What is possible?

Through the Internet, students and school employees can explore thousands of libraries, databases, museums, and other resources. They can exchange personal communications with other users around the world. While the use of the Internet is primarily instructional in nature, to reach an educational goal some students may find ways to access other materials. Unfortunately, some of these resources contain items that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or potentially offensive. Most educators believe the benefits to students from access to the Internet exceed the disadvantages. Parents/guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards their children should follow when using these resources. Therefore, we respect each family's right to decide whether or not to apply for access.

How should it be used?

The Internet should be used for research and education through the provision of unique resources and opportunities for collaboration among students, teachers, support personnel, and administrators. Use of the Internet must be in support of this educational research and consistent with the educational objectives of the school. Research projects should first be incorporated into lesson plans and then assigned to students.

A request, with details, for a particular site to be unblocked, may be made to the Technology Department.

What is expected?

Students, staff and guests are responsible for appropriate behavior while using the Internet and the World Wide Web. Additionally, all users are responsible for their actions while using the equipment and the resources. Use is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked if abused. Vandalism of equipment or programs will result in punishment as defined in system’s conduct policies or the law.

User Logs must be kept by classroom teachers, media specialists, and others who have students in their charge with access to a computer. Students are not to delete the Internet history unless given approval by the teacher. Teachers must be able to review the history files. Students must be supervised when using a computer.

E-Mail

Employees will be provided with an individual e-mail account after approval of the principal and technology contact and upon demonstration of ability to operate within the network. Users will check their e-mail frequently and delete unwanted messages promptly.  Employees shall not post/advertise their e-mail address to web sites.  Unless absolutely necessary, email addresses should not be given to anyone other than known, reputable agencies or vendors who do business with the schools.

Students - E-mail/Hot Mail accounts will not be established without a written lesson plan that clearly states the purpose and valid educational reason for the account. Accounts will be opened by the technology staff when requested and approved.

Guest Accounts will be temporary, approved by teacher and principal, and removed at the earliest possible time.

 Internet Chat Rooms and Bulletin Boards

Access is prohibited except upon submission of plans for a specific lesson and full supervision by the teacher.

Schools/System Web Sites

Schools may establish Web pages that present appropriate information about the school or class activities. Any web site established on the DeKalb County School System web server must be authorized by the Technology Administrator. Web sites established for system entities on third party servers are not authorized and if established are not considered official or representative of the school system and must be removed. Student identification is not permitted on Web sites.

Users will not post personal contact information about themselves or other people. Personal contact information includes name, address, telephone, or e-mail address. Adults may need to give vendors minimum information such as user name and e-mail address

 School System Limitation of Liability

The School System makes no warranties of any kind, either express or implied, that the functions or the services provided by or through the system will be error-free or without defect. The System will not be responsible for any damage users may suffer, including but not limited to, loss of data or interruptions of service. The System will not be responsible for financial obligations arising through the unauthorized use of the system.

Due Process

The school system will filter and monitor network access and will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through the system’s network.

In the event there is an allegation or report which indicates that a student or adult has violated these policies, written notice will be provided and the individuals involved given an opportunity to present an explanation as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and the Policies and Procedures handbooks.

Privacy - All users have the right to privacy. However, if evidence indicates a user may be in violation of the guidelines, a system administrator may review communications to maintain system integrity and to insure that students and adults are using the system responsibly.

Respect for Privacy - Users will not repost a message that was sent to them privately without permission of the person who sent the message. (Exceptions would be requests for technical assistance addressed to the technology administrator or communications between technical staff.)

There shall be no unauthorized disclosure of information on students. Adults must maintain confidentiality of student records and other information.

 Search and Seizure - System users have a limited privacy expectation in the contents of their personal files on the system network.

Routine maintenance and monitoring of the system may lead to discovery that a user has or is violating the Safety and Acceptable Use policies, or the law. An individual search will be conducted if there is probable cause that such is necessary.

Employees should be aware that their personal files may be discoverable under Alabama State law.

Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement

Users will not plagiarize works that they find on the Internet. Plagiarism is taking the ideas or writings of others and presenting them as if they were original to the user. Teachers, librarians, etc., will instruct students in appropriate research and citation practices.

Users will respect the rights of copyright owners. Because the extent of copyright protection of certain works found on the Internet is unclear, employees will make a standard practice of requesting permission from the holder of the work if their use of the material has the potential of being considered an infringement unless the article states it is public domain.

Academic Freedom, Student Rights to Free Speech

Any statement of personal belief is implicitly understood to be representative of the author’s individual point of view and not that of the school or school system. 

What are the privileges and rights of a user?

All users have certain privileges and rights. Infringement of or disrespect to the rights of others may result in the loss of Internet privileges.  

Inappropriate materials or language

No profane, abusive, or impolite language should be used to communicate nor should materials be accessed which are not in line with the rules of school behavior.

Restrictions against inappropriate language apply to public messages, private messages, and material posted on Web pages.

Users will not view, send or display obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, disrespectful, threatening, or inflammatory language, messages, pictures, etc.

Users will not post information that, if acted upon, could cause damage or a danger of disruption.

Users will not engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.

Users will not use a computer or the Internet to hurt, harass, attack, or harm other people or their work. Harassment is persistently acting in a manner that distresses or annoys another person. If a user is told by a person to stop sending them messages, they must stop.

Users will not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.

Users shall be held accountable for their actions. Exemplary behavior is expected from all users at all times.

Selection of Material

When using the Internet for class activities, teachers will select material that is age appropriate for the students and that is relevant to the course objectives. Teachers will preview the materials and sites they require or recommend students access to determine the appropriateness of the material. Teachers will provide guidelines and lists of resources to assist their students in research activities.

If it becomes necessary to limit or designate certain selections from the Internet for accessibility to students, determination will be made by a committee and the administration.

Software

All proposed software purchases to be made by individuals or schools must have prior approval of the Technology Administrator if said software is intended to be placed on servers even if software is free. Some operating systems might not be compatible with the network. Software shall not be placed on servers without approval of the technology administrator.

It is strongly suggested that employees, when purchasing software, double check with vendors regarding compatibility of software and contact technology staff for a check of their computer capacity if in doubt.

All software scheduled to be placed on multiple computers or network servers must include the necessary site license. Caution shall be taken to insure that no software piracy takes place. A site license should be obtained as necessary. Penalties for software piracy are severe.

Personal Safety

Any user who receives threatening or unwelcome communications should notify a teacher or system administrator.

Illegal Activities

Users will not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the system network or to any other computer system, or go beyond their authorized access. This includes attempting to log on through another person’s account or access another person’s files.

There shall be no malicious or negligent damage to computers, computer systems, or networks. Users will not make deliberate attempts to disrupt the computer system performance or destroy data by spreading computer viruses or by any other means. These actions are illegal.

Users will not attempt to access pornography, seek illegal information from the Internet on any other illegal act such as hacking, instructions on how to perform an illegal act, child pornography, threatening the safety of a person or engaging in any type of criminal gang activity or illegal sales.

School officials are required to report any threats, communications or access that appears to be a potential threat to the safety of students and staff.

System Security

Users are responsible for the use of their individual account and should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others from using their account. Under no conditions shall a user provide his/her password to another person.

Users will immediately notify the Technology Administrator if they have identified a possible security problem. Users are not authorized to "search for" security problems. This action may be construed as an illegal attempt to gain access.

Users will avoid the inadvertent spread of computer viruses and should be cautious when opening e-mail from an unknown source or downloading of files from the Internet.

School officials are required to report any threats, communications or access that appear to be a potential threat to the safety of the students and staff.

Filtering/Monitoring Software. The school system will use software designed to block access to certain sites and will monitor e-mail activity, Web sites, chat rooms and bulletin boards visited by users of the network.

Respecting Resource Limits

Student users will not download any file unless under the direct supervision of a teacher. Caution shall be taken by employees when downloading large files including but not limited to free program files without authorization from the Network Administrator. Users will not install unauthorized software, files, games, programs or other electronic media on the network.  

Downloaded documents and images shall be educational and in line with lesson plans. Note that images take up a great deal of memory. The network provides the administration with a means of checking on downloads, date of download, source of download, and the user account.

No radios/real players are to be run through the network unless specified in a lesson plan and then removed following completion of lesson. Radios/real players use a large amount of bandwidth which slows the speed of Internet access. The school system has a tremendous amount of activity on the system network during school hours.

Unblocking of certain sites, if requested by teacher and principal, may be allowed for short periods of time, upon approval of Technology Department. The merits of unblocking an unacceptable site should be weighed carefully when considering such action.

Temporary Internet files should be deleted at least once every thirty days or more often if necessary.

No single user shall be allowed to monopolize the workstations connected to the Internet.

Protection of Equipment

No food or drink shall be permitted in business or computer labs or around classroom computers.

No software or CDs, games, etc. are to be brought from home or elsewhere for installation on school computers without approval of the school’s technology contact or the system’s technology staff.

If someone installs software without prior approval of technology staff, and this causes a problem or damage, then the technology staff is only responsible for wiping the hard drive clean, reloading the operating system and any system software. Repair expense caused by damage to the network or to system software as a result of negligence or failure to follow instructions shall be the responsibility of the person/s contributing to such damage.

Each individual adult employee is responsible for the computers placed in his/her charge.

Students nor adults are to delete/change network settings for any reason without permission from the Technology Department. When problems occur, an e-mail message, fax, or phone call should be made to the Technology Administrator. A technician will then be assigned on a priority basis.

Equal Access

All users, including those with disabilities, will be granted free and equal access to the Internet. Exploration of the Internet is encouraged relative to the purposes of research and education.

The Board reserves the right to remove users' access or records without warning.

The Board reserves the right to amend this policy.

Students and staff will be required to sign Internet Policy at beginning of term, or upon enrollment.

Student Handbook contains forms to sign in acknowledgement of policy.