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ACCEPTABLE USE OF COMPUTERS, TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERNET
The Board supports the use of computers, technology and the Internet in the District's instructional program as a resource to educate and inform. The use of these resources shall be consistent with the curriculum adopted by the School District and shall be employed in an appropriate and responsible manner to meet the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities and developmental levels of students.
Procedures and Guidelines
The Superintendent shall develop and implement appropriate procedures to provide guidance for computer use and Internet access. Guidelines shall address teacher supervision of computer use, ethical use of electronic media, and the District’s ownership and right of administrative review of electronic files and communications. The term “electronic media” includes, but is not limited to, the Internet, e-‐mail and other technological resources.
The guidelines shall prohibit utilization of networks for inappropriate or illegal activities, the intentional spreading of imbedded messages (viruses) or the use of other programs with the potential of damaging or destroying programs, data or equipment. The guidelines will describe the District's limitation of liability and will establish that the use of computers, technology and the Internet is a privilege, not a right. Violation of the procedures and guidelines will result in cancellation of those privileges and appropriate disciplinary action.
Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy
A. Internet Safety
It is the policy of Columbus Public Schools to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). With respect to the District’s computer network, the District shall: (a) prevent user access to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) provide for the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications; (c) prevent unauthorized access,
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including so-‐called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities online; (d) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (e) implement measures designed to restrict minors’ access to materials (visual or non-‐visual) that are harmful to minors.
1. Definitions. Key terms are as defined in CIPA. “Inappropriate material” for purposes of this policy includes material that is obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. The term “harmful to minors” means any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that: (1) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (2) 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 a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and (3) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
2. Access to Inappropriate Material. To the extent practical, technology protection measures (or “Internet filters”) shall be used to block or filter Internet, or other forms of electronic communications, access to inappropriate information. Specifically, as required by the CIPA, blocking shall be applied to visual depictions of material deemed obscene or child pornography, or to any material deemed harmful to minors. Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
3. Inappropriate Network Usage. To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of users of the District’s online computer network when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications. Specifically, as required by CIPA, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a)
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unauthorized access, including so-‐called ‘hacking,’ and other unlawful activities; and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.
4. Supervision and Monitoring. It shall be the responsibility of all members of the District staff to supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the Internet in accordance with this policy and CIPA. Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the Superintendent and the Superintendent’s designees.
5. Social Networking. Students shall be educated about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with others on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyber-‐ bullying awareness and response.
6. Adoption. This Internet Safety Policy was adopted by the Board at a public meeting, following normal public notice.
B. Computer Acceptable Use
This computer acceptable use policy is supplemental to the District’s Internet Safety Policy.
1. Technology Subject to this Policy. This Computer Acceptable Use Policy applies to all technology resources of the District or made available by the District. Technology resources include, without limitation, computers and related technology equipment, all forms of e-‐mail and electronic communications, and the internet.
2. Access and User Agreements. Use of the District technology resources is a privilege and not a right. The Superintendent or designee shall develop appropriate user agreements and shall
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require that employees, students (and their parents or guardians), and others to sign such user agreements as a condition of access to the technology resources, as the Superintendent determines appropriate. Parents and guardians of students in programs operated by the District shall inform the Superintendent or designee in writing if they do not want their child to have access.
The Superintendent and designees are authorized and directed to establish and implement such other regulations, forms, procedures, guidelines, and standards to implement this Policy.
The technology resources are not a public forum. The District reserves the right to restrict any communications and to remove communications that have been posted.
3. Acceptable Uses. The technology resources are to be used for the limited purpose of advancing the District’s mission. The technology resources are to be used, in general, for educational purposes, meaning activities that are integral, immediate, and proximate to the education of students as defined in the E-‐rate program regulations.
4. Unacceptable Uses.
The following are unacceptable uses of the technology resources:
a. Personal Gain: Technology resources shall not be used, and no person shall authorize its use, for personal financial gain other than in accordance with prescribed constitutional, statutory, and regulatory procedures, other than compensation provided by law.
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b. Personal Matters:
Occasional use that the Superintendent or designee determines to ultimately facilitate the mission of the District is not prohibited by this provision. Examples of occasional use that may be determined to ultimately facilitate the mission of the District: sending an e-‐mail to a minor child or spouse; sending an e-‐mail related to a community group in which an employee is a member where the membership in the community group facilitates the District’s mission; or use of device before and after duty-‐time.
c. Campaigning: Technology resources shall not be used, and no person shall authorize its use, for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question.
Technology-‐Related Limitations: Technology resources shall not be used in any manner which impairs its effective operations or the rights of other technology users. Without limitation,
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1. Users shall not use another person’s name, log-‐ on, password, or files for any reason, or allow another to use their password (except for authorized staff members).
2. Users shall not erase, remake, or make unusable another person’s computer, information, files, programs or disks.
3. Users shall not access resources not specifically granted to the user or engage in electronic trespassing.
4. Users shall not engage in “hacking” to gain unauthorized access to the operating system software or unauthorized access to the system of other users.
5. Users shall not copy, change, or transfer any software without permission from the network administrators.
6. Users shall not write, produce, generate, copy, propagate, or attempt to introduce any computer code designed to self-‐replicate, damage, or otherwise hinder the performance of any
computer’s memory, file system, or software. Such software is often called a bug, virus, worm, Trojan horse, or similar name.
7. Users shall not engage in any form of vandalism of the technology resources.
8. Users shall follow the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. The Superintendent or designees may further define such rules.
e. Other Policies and Laws: Technology resources shall not be used for any purpose contrary to any District policy, any school rules to which a student user is
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subject, or any applicable law. Without limitation, this means that technology resources may not be used:
1. to access any material contrary to the Internet Safety Policy; or to create or generate any such material.
2. to engage in unlawful harassment or discrimination, such as sending e-‐mails that contain sexual jokes or images.
3. to engage in violations of employee ethical standards and employee standards of performance, such as sending e-‐mails that are threatening or offensive or which contain abusive language; use of end messages on e-‐mails that may imply that the District is supportive of a particular religion or religious belief system, a political candidate or issue, or a controversial issue; or sending e-‐mails that divulge protected confidential student information to unauthorized persons.
4. to engage in or promote violations of student conduct rules.
5. to engage in illegal activity, such as gambling.
6. in a manner contrary to copyright laws.
7. in a manner contrary to software licenses.
5. Disclaimer. The technology resources are supplied on an “as is, as available” basis. The District does not imply or expressly warrant that any information accessed will be valuable or fit for a particular purpose or that the system will operate error free. The District is not responsible for the integrity of information accessed, or software downloaded from the Internet.
6. Filter. A technology protection measure is in place that blocks and/or filters access to prevent access to Internet sites that are not in accordance with policies and regulations. In
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addition to blocks and/or filters, the District may also use other technology protection measures or procedures as deemed appropriate.
Notwithstanding technology protection measures, some inappropriate material may be accessible by the Internet, including material that is illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or potentially offensive to some people. Users accept the risk of access to such material and responsibility for promptly exiting any such material.
The technology protection measure that blocks and/or filters Internet access may be disabled only by an authorized staff member for bona fide research or educational purposes: (a) who has successfully completed District training on proper disabling circumstances and procedures, (b) with permission of the immediate supervisor of the staff member requesting said disabling, or (c) with the permission of the Superintendent. An authorized staff member may override the technology protection measure that blocks and/or filters Internet access for a minor to access a site for bona fide research or other lawful purposes provided the minor is monitored directly by an authorized staff member.
7. Monitoring. Use of the technology resources, including but not limited to internet sites visited and e-‐mail transmitted or received, is subject to monitoring by the administration and network administrators at any time to maintain the system and insure that users are using the system responsibly, without notice to the users. Users have no privacy rights or expectations of privacy with regard to use of the District’s computers or Internet system. All technology equipment shall be used under the supervision of the Superintendent and the Superintendent’s designees.
8. Sanctions. Violation of the policies and procedures concerning the use of the District technology resources may
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result in suspension or cancellation of the privilege to use the technology resources and disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion of students and termination of employees. Use that is unethical may be reported to the Commissioner of Education. Use that is unlawful may be reported to the law enforcement authorities. Users shall be responsible for damages caused and injuries sustained by improper or non-‐ permitted use.
9. Appropriate Social Network and Websites Behavior. The district recognizes its responsibility to educate students regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites about cyberbullying. Therefore, students shall be provided instruction about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking sites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response. The district will create an age-‐ appropriate plan for providing such instruction using informational programs, educational materials and lessons as needed to achieve this goal.
Social Media and Digital Communication Guidelines for Staff
Effective communication with colleagues, students and families is vital for a thriving school environment where all stakeholders feel heard and engaged. Social media and digital communication devices and methods offer a means by which staff and students can quickly communicate with others, share information and exchange ideas.
Some examples could be: social networking, blogging, forms, listserv, messaging, and cloud based services (Google, Office 365, iCloud, Dropbox, etc.).
Purpose and Guidelines:
The district understands the value of social media and the benefits offered by digital communication devices for providing quick and easy interaction among peers students and families. These guidelines are intended to support staff and students by ensuring that all members clearly understand the many factors and possible
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ramifications to consider and use communication tools in a district approved manner within district-‐approved platforms or spaces. These guidelines are in addition to, and complement, existing and future Board of Education policies.
When using social media or digital communication devices to communicate with students and/or families district staff should:
• Always comply with Board of Education Policies
• District-‐sanctioned vs. personal media
This guideline should serve as a reference tool when making decisions regarding their selection and use of social media resources and digital communication devices. The district does not prohibit students and staff decision to participate in blogs, wikis, social media pages, etc. for personal use on personal time. If, however, students and staff choose to do so, communication is expected to be in a positive manner. These avenues should not be used to vent frustration or concerns about school related issues. We encourage you to contact that school directly to discuss your concern.
• Follow all rules established by social media provider (i.e. age requirements, profile restrictions).
• Be aware that even with the most stringent privacy settings, photo tagging and other tools may make personal information regarding students and their families publicly available. Students and Staff should be prepared to address these issues and remind families of this potential.
• Do not “friend”, “follow” or otherwise interact with students or staff from your personal social media accounts.
• When using social media sites/products for school of CPS-‐related purposes, use district-‐sanctioned and/or district-‐created platforms, (e.g. CPS Facebook, twitter, website, etc.).
• Communication with families, students and staff for school concerns should occur only through district-‐provided accounts.
Students/Staff must avoid posting personal information, pictures, work product examples on personal social media sites, blogs, etc, without consent of those contained within. Current parental consents apply only to district-‐sanctioned sites.
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Social media in the classroom
All Social Media accounts used within or for a classroom/activity need to be coordinated through the District’s Communications Coordinator and proper approval granted. Communicate clearly with families staff, and students before using social media within the classroom so that families understand what, if any, information regarding their children may be available on the internet.
Staff should work with their building principal whenever they are considering a new use of social media or digital communication within the classroom.
Always use common sense and professional judgment when contacting students through social media.
Communications must be age-‐appropriate and related directly to a student’s education.
Staff at all levels may communicate directly with the students via district accounts unless parents have actively opt-‐out.
Standards of professional conduct
Your online behavior must reflect the same standards of professionalism, respect and integrity as your face-‐to-‐face communications.
When using personal social media sites, if you identify yourself as an employee or student of the Columbus Public School District you must remember that you have associated yourself with the District, your colleagues and your school community; therefore, you must ensure that any associated content is consistent with the mission and work of the district.
Students or Staff who have identified themselves as associated with the district should use the following disclaimer on personal social media sites, including blogs, “The views on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, vision or strategies of the Columbus Public School District.”
Even with the most stringent privacy settings, when posting online comments that are related to school, students, families or the district, a personal capacity, staff should act as if all comments/postings are in the public domain
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Use caution when posting any comments and/or images to the internet that may reflect negatively on your personal or professional image. Be advised that failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in disciplinary action.
Legal Reference: Children’s Internet Protection Act, 47 USC § 254
FCC Order adopted August 10, 2011
47 USC § 254(h)(1)(b); 47 CFR 54.500(b) and 68 FR 36932
(2003) (E-‐rate restrictions)
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 49-‐14,101.01 (Political Accountability and
20 U.S.C. sec. 1232g (1988) (Family Educational Rights and
47 U.S.C. 201 et seq. (Communications Decency Act of 1995)
Children’s Internet Protection Act and Neighborhood CIPA of
2000 Nebraska Statutes 79-‐2104
Cross Reference: 102 Educational Philosophy of the District 401 Guiding Principles for Employees 504 Student Rights and Responsibilities 507 Student Records
603 Curriculum Development
604 Instructional Curriculum
1006 Use of District Facilities and Equipment
COLUMBUS PUBLIC SCHOOLS