The board provides its students and staff access to a variety of technological resources. These resources provide opportunities to enhance learning and improve communication within the school community and with the larger global community. Through the school system’s technological resources, users can observe events as they occur around the world, interact with others on a variety of subjects, and acquire access to current and in-depth information.The board intends that students and employees benefit from these resources while remaining within the bounds of safe, legal and responsible use. Accordingly, the board establishes this policy to govern student and employee use of school system technological resources. This policy applies regardless of whether such use occurs on or off school system property, and it applies to all school system technological resources, including but not limited to computer networks and connections, the resources, tools and learning environments made available by or on the networks, and all devices that connect to those networks.
A. EXPECTATIONS FOR USE OF SCHOOL TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES The use of school system technological resources, including access to the Internet, is a privilege, not a right. Individual users of the school system’s technological resources are responsible for their behavior and communications when using those resources. Responsible use of school system technological resources is use that is ethical, respectful, academically honest and supportive of student learning. Each user has the responsibility to respect others in the school community and on the Internet. Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. General student and employee behavior standards, including those prescribed in applicable board policies, the Code of Student Conduct and other regulations and school rules, apply to use of the Internet and other school technological resources. In addition, anyone who uses school system computers or electronic devices or who accesses the school network or the Internet using school system resources must comply with the additional rules for safe and responsible use provided in this policy. These rules are intended to clarify expectations for conduct but should not be construed as all-inclusive. All students and employees must be informed annually of the requirements of this policy and the methods by which they may obtain a copy of this policy. Before using school system technological resources, students and employees must sign a statement indicating that they understand and will strictly comply with these requirements. Failure to adhere to these requirements will result in disciplinary action as provided in Section C of this policy. B. SAFE USE OF TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES The superintendent shall ensure that school district computers and other devices with Internet access comply with federal requirements regarding filtering software. The superintendent or designee shall instruct school personnel on other related federal requirements, including Internet monitoring and enforcement of the board’s Internet safety policies as described herein. The superintendent shall develop any regulations necessary to meet such requirements and will submit any certifications necessary to meet the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act. In conformance with the requirements of the Act, the superintendent shall institute the safety measures described below. 1. Technology Protection Measures The Internet and electronic communications offer fluid environments in which students may access or be exposed to materials and information from diverse and rapidly changing sources, including some that may be harmful to students. The board recognizes that it is impossible to predict with certainty what information on the Internet students may access or obtain. Nevertheless, school system personnel shall take reasonable precautions to prevent students from accessing inappropriate materials. The superintendent shall ensure that there is in place a technology protection measure to block or filter access to inappropriate information on the Internet and World Wide Web, specifically audio and visual depictions that are obscene, that are considered child pornography or that are harmful to minors. Student access to other materials that are inappropriate to minors will also be restricted. The board has determined that audio or visual materials that depict violence, nudity or graphic language that does not serve a legitimate pedagogical purpose are inappropriate for minors. The superintendent, in conjunction with a school technology and media advisory committee (see policy 3200, Selection of Instructional Materials), shall make a determination regarding what other matter or materials are inappropriate for minors. School system personnel may not restrict Internet access to ideas, social perspectives or viewpoints if the restriction is motivated solely by disapproval of the ideas involved. 2. Internet Safety Policy Anyone who uses school system computers or electronic devices or who accesses the school network or the Internet at an educational site, including staff and students, must comply with the requirements listed below and those in Section C of this policy. (1) Users are prohibited from engaging in unauthorized or unlawful activities such as “hacking” or using the computer network to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized or unlawful access to other computers, computer systems or accounts. (2) User accounts which control authorized access to computing and networking resources are provided by the district. Users are prohibited from using another user’s computer or network account or their authentication, i.e., username and password, under any circumstance. Users may not read, alter, change, block, execute or delete files or communications belonging to another user without the owner’s express prior permission except when sharing files used in a collaborative environment. (3) Users are prohibited from knowingly providing their school district- authenticated access to any other user. Use of any third party network hosted service that requires the establishment or pass through of student accounts privileges will be allowed only in accordance with a terms of service agreement that identifies the specific measures taken by the provider to protect student privacy and to establish Internet safety. (4) Users must respect the privacy of others. When using email, chat rooms, blogs or other forms of electronic communication, students must not reveal personal identifying information, or information that is private or confidential, such as the home address or telephone number, credit or checking account information or social security number of themselves, fellow students, or other minors and shall not use or disseminate such information about fellow students or other minors. In addition, school personnel shall not disclose on school system web sites/pages or elsewhere on the Internet any personally identifiable, private or confidential information concerning students (including names, addresses or pictures) without the written permission of a parent/guardian or eligible student, except as otherwise permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and board policy4700, Student Records. Users also may not forward or post personal communications without the author’s prior consent. (5) It shall be the responsibility of instructional personnel and other employees designated by the superintendent to make reasonable efforts to supervise students’ use of the Internet during instructional time. (6) The use of anonymous proxies to circumvent content filtering is prohibited. 3. Education of Online Safety and Security a. The standards and acceptable use of Internet services as set forth in this policy; b. Student safety with regard to safety on the Internet, appropriate on-line behavior, including cyberbullying awareness and response, and behavior on social networking websites and in chat rooms. c. Compliance with the E-rate requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Following receipt of this training, the student must acknowledge that he or she received the training, understood it and will follow the provisions of this policy. The superintendent or designee shall establish and maintain an updated and regular process of ongoing education for students on the safe and secure use of networks and the Internet. Schools will provide a variety of means for students and their parents to stay informed, including through the integration of best practices within the curriculum as students learn content using online resources. C. REQUIREMENTS FOR USE OF THE INTERNET AND OTHER TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES The use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right. Consequences of violating this Responsible Use policy include but, are not necessarily limited to, termination of access. The principal or designee may take other measures in lieu of suspending access to enforce responsible use if he or she determines that suspending access would adversely impact the student’s learning or the employee’s ability to perform job-related tasks. Teachers will provide alternative means of access to necessary educational materials for any student who has his or her privileges revoked. Willful misuse of school system technology resources may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal law. Any users of the Internet, including staff and students, must comply with Section B.2 of this policy and the following additional requirements: 1. School system technological resources are provided for school-related purposes only. Acceptable uses of such technological resources are limited to responsible, efficient and legal activities that support learning and teaching. Student personal use of school system technological resources for amusement or entertainment is prohibited. Because some incidental and occasional personal use by employees is inevitable, the board permits infrequent and brief personal use by employees so long as it occurs on personal time, does not interfere with school system business and is not otherwise prohibited by board policy or procedure. 2. No right of privacy exists in any communication on the Internet. Authorized school officials will have the ability to and may monitor all communication and intercept electronic messages as a part of ensuring compliance with board policy and applicable laws and regulations. This provision applies to any device connected to the school system’s network resources. 3. Under no circumstance may software purchased by the school system be copied for personal use. 4. Students and employees must comply with all applicable board policies, administrative regulations, and school standards and rules in using technological resources. Anyone who uses computing and networking devices to bully, harass, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise harm others will have his or her usage privileges suspended and will receive disciplinary action according to school board policies addressing harassment and bullying. (See board policy1730/4022/7231, Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying.) 5. No user of technological resources, including a person sending or receiving electronic communications, may engage in creating, intentionally viewing, accessing, downloading, storing, printing or transmitting text, sounds, images, graphics (including still or moving pictures), sound files, text files, documents, messages or other material that is obscene, defamatory, profane, pornographic, harassing, abusive or considered to be harmful to others, especially minors, or which poses a substantial disruption to the school environment. 6. Users of technological resources may not send electronic communications fraudulently (i.e., by misrepresenting the identity of the sender). 7. All applicable laws and board policies apply, including those relating to copyrights/trademarks, confidential information and public records. Any use that violates state or federal laws is strictly prohibited. Plagiarism of Internet resources will be treated in the same manner as any other incidents of plagiarism, as stated in the Code of Student Conduct. 8. Users may not install or use any Internet-based file sharing program designed to facilitate sharing of copyrighted material. 9. Users may not intentionally or negligently damage computers, computer systems, electronic devices, software, computer networks or data of any user connected to school system technological resources. Users may not knowingly or negligently transmit computer viruses or self-replicating messages or deliberately try to degrade or disrupt system performance. 10. Users may not create or introduce games, network communications programs or any foreign program or software onto any school system computer, electronic device or network without the express permission of the technology director or designee. 11. Use of school system technological resources for commercial gain or profit is prohibited. 12. Views may be expressed on the Internet or other technological resources as representing the view of the school system or part of the school system only with prior approval by the superintendent or his/ her designee. 13. Students may bring to school their own commercially available, industry standard mobile and/or handheld computers, with written parental consent, and with prior signed acknowledgement indicating awareness of these policies. Mobile and/or handheld computers may be integrated with cellular communications capability. Use of such devices shall be subject to this policy and any rules established by the superintendent or designee; however, the board is not responsible for the Internet content accessed by users who connect to the Internet via their personal mobile telephony technology (e.g., 3G, 4G service). 14. Any student who is issued a school system-owned mobile computer shall follow all the requirements established in this policy and all additional rules established by the superintendent or designee for use of school system-owned mobile computers. D. RESTRICTED MATERIAL ON THE INTERNET The board recognizes that parents of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards their children should follow when using media and information sources. Accordingly, before a student may independently access the Internet, the student’s parent must be made aware of the possibility that the student could obtain access to inappropriate material while engaged in independent use of the Internet. Parents/legal guardians and teachers are responsible for determining a student’s access to these resources, but ultimately, the student is responsible for his or her activity on the Internet. By accessing the Internet through the Rockingham County Schools network, the parent and student acknowledge that the student user is responsible for appropriate use of the Internet and consent to monitoring by school personnel of the student’s e-mail communication and use of the Internet. Parents/legal guardians have the option of requesting that their child not be provided with independent access to the Internet. To exercise this option, parents must sign the Parental Request to Restrict Access, which is available in the student handbook. Each individual school shall implement appropriate procedures and safeguards to ensure that such requests are properly noted, implemented, and made accessible to school officials. E. PRIVACY No right of privacy exists in the use of technological resources. Users should not assume that files or communications created or transmitted using school system technological resources or stored on services or hard drives of individual computers will be private. School system administrators or individuals designated by the superintendent may review files, monitor all communication, and intercept e-mail messages to maintain system integrity and to ensure compliance with board policy and applicable laws and regulations. School system personnel shall make reasonable efforts to monitor on-line activities of individuals who access the Internet via a school-owned computer. F. PERSONAL WEBSITES The superintendent may use any means available to request the removal of personal websites that substantially disrupt the school environment or that utilize school system or individual school names, logos or trademarks without permission. 1. Students Though school personnel generally do not monitor students’ Internet activity conducted on non-school system devices during non-school hours, when the student’s on-line behavior has a direct and immediate effect on school safety or maintaining order and discipline in the schools, the student may be disciplined in accordance with board policy (see the student behavior policies in the 4300 series). 2. Employees Employees’ personal websites are subject to policy 7335, Employee Use of Social Media. 3. Volunteers Volunteers are to maintain an appropriate relationship with students at all times. Volunteers are encouraged to block students from viewing personal information on volunteer personal websites or on-line networking profiles in order to prevent the possibility that students could view materials that are not age-appropriate. An individual volunteer’s relationship with the school system may be terminated if the volunteer engages in inappropriate online interaction with students. G. PUBLIC NOTICE In conformance with the requirements of federal law, this policy has been presented to the public for comment through the board’s standard presentation of policy, which is part of the board’s review and adoption process.