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Home > Policies & Procedures > Board Policy 815 - Acceptable Use of Internet, Computers and Network Resources
Board Policy 815 - Acceptable Use of Internet, Computers and Network Resources
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Book: Policy Manual

Section: 800 Operations

Title: Acceptable Use of Internet, Computers and Network Resources

Code: 815

Status: Second Reading & Adoption (Waive First Reading): August 18, 2021, From PSBA

 

Legal

  1. 18 U.S.C. 2256
  2. 18 Pa. C.S.A. 6312
  3. 20 U.S.C. 7131
  4. 47 U.S.C. 254
  5. 18 Pa. C.S.A. 5903
  6. Pol. 218
  7. Pol. 233
  8. Pol. 317
  9. Pol. 103
  10. Pol. 103.1
  11. Pol. 104
  12. Pol. 249
  13. Pol. 218.2
  14. 24 P.S. 4604
  15. 24 P.S. 4610
  16. 47 CFR 54.520
  17. 24 P.S. 1303.1-A
  18. Pol. 237
  19. Pol. 814
  20. 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq

18 Pa. C.S.A. 2709
24 P.S. 4601 et seq
Pol. 220

 

Purpose

 

The Board supports use of the 1:1 and shared devices, Internet and subscription services, learning management systems, and other software, databases, and online services, including 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 district provides students, staff and other authorized individuals with access to the district’s devices, electronic communication systems and network, which includes Internet access, whether wired or wireless, or by any other means. Equipment distribution for staff is determined by the employee classification group. Not all positions are eligible to receive district-owned technology. Staff members that change roles within the district are subject to re-evaluation of technology equipment needs based on their employee classification group.

 

All files, documents, and data are owned by the district. All files must be stored in district approved file services, district file servers, district applications and district devices. Files, documents, and data are not permitted to be stored on any non-district device or service that is not approved and managed by the district. Any file or document that needs to be shared with other staff members, students, or someone from the public must use the district’s email and file storage systems and have the proper permissions and share with only the recipient or recipients.

 

Any communication regarding district business must use approved district systems, services, and applications. All staff and administration should be aware that e-mail messages, electronic documents, notes, files or data that reside on computers and other devices, networks, systems, or applications, and any cloud computing service may be subject to document requests both under Pennsylvania’s Right To Know Law and pursuant to FERPA. The guidelines should be followed by all staff and administrators to ensure professionalism in the District’s communications.

 

  1. Maintain professionalism at all times. Do not write anything in an email, document, note, or any online system that you would not want to have read by a parent, lawyer, or judge.
  2. A polite and respectful tone is always required, even when writing about contentious issues or situations.
  3. If an email contains confidential student information, only those individuals with a legitimate educational interest in that information should be included or CC’d on the message.
  4. Refrain from using personal email accounts or text messages to communicate with parents about school district business. Your school district account or online portals should be used for this purpose.
  5. Only send confidential student information to non-district personnel if the appropriate legal release has been signed to allow the non-district personnel access to that information.
  6. Use student names instead of initials in all electronic communications.
  7. Particularly sensitive issues should be addressed to parents and students in person or over the phone, and not through email.

  8. Do not assume that because an email has been sent to a parent that the email has been read by the parent. Follow up in person or over the phone on important issues to ensure that the parent has received the message.

 

For instructional purposes, the use of all district technology based resources 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. All resources need approval by the Director of Technology to ensure compliance with Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and to ensure compatibility with the district network, systems, and devices.

 

Definitions

 

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:[1]

  1. The production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;

  2. 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

  3. 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.[2]

 

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:[3][4]

 

  1. Taken as a whole, 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 lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

  3. 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:[5]

 

  1. Predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors;

  2. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and

  3. Taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value for minors.

 

Obscene - any material or performance, if:[5]

 

  1. The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the subject matter taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest;

  2. The subject matter depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct described in the law to be obscene; and

  3. The subject matter, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value.

 

The district will provide best efforts to ensure proper blocking/filtering and monitoring of resources. All resources are subject to Technology protection measures - a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors.[4]

 

Authority

 

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 access to technology resources and network use is a privilege, not a right. The district’s technology resources 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 Internet, network and service access to any resources and monitor the use of file server and cloud storage 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.[6][7][8]

 

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:[4]

  1. Defamatory.

  2. Lewd, vulgar, or profane.

  3. Threatening.

  4. Harassing or discriminatory.[9][10][11]

  5. Bullying.[12]

  6. Terroristic.[13]

 

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.[3][4][14]

 

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.[14]

 

Upon request by students or staff, administrators may authorize the temporary disabling of Internet blocking/filtering software on a device or for particular Internet sites or domains to enable access for bona fide research or for other lawful purposes. Staff may request a particular website or domain that is valid/appropriate to be unblocked. These requests need to be submitted to the Technology Department. If it is required that ALL blocking/filtering needs disabled on a specific student device, written permission from the parent/guardian is required in addition to the building principal’s approval. If a request for temporary disabling of ALL Internet blocking/filtering software is denied, the requesting student or staff member may appeal the denial to the Superintendent or designee for expedited review.[3][15]

 

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.[14]

 

Users of district networks or district-owned equipment shall, prior to being given access or being issued equipment, review the provisions of this policy, and be aware that the district uses monitoring systems to monitor and detect inappropriate use and tracking systems to track and recover lost or stolen equipment.

 

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:[3][4][16]

  1. 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.

  2. Maintaining and securing a usage log.

  3. Monitoring online activities of minors.

 

The Superintendent or designee will ensure students are educated on network etiquette and other appropriate online behavior, including:[4]

  1. Interaction with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms.

  2. Cyberbullying awareness and response.[12][17]

 

Guidelines

 

All district accounts shall be used only by the authorized owner of the account for its approved purpose. All users shall respect the privacy of other users on the system.

 

Safety

 

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 or administrator. 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:[4][16]

  1. Control of access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web.
  2. Safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
  3. Prevention of unauthorized online access by minors, including "hacking" and other unlawful activities.
  4. Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors.
  5. Restriction of minors’ access to materials harmful to them.

 

Prohibitions

 

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:

  1. Facilitating illegal activity.

  2. Commercial or for-profit purposes.

  3. Nonwork or nonschool related work.

  4. Product advertisement or political lobbying.

  5. Bullying/Cyberbullying.[12][17]

  6. Hate mail, discriminatory remarks, and offensive or inflammatory communication.

  7. Unauthorized or illegal installation, distribution, reproduction, or use of copyrighted materials.

  8. Accessing, sending, receiving, transferring, viewing, sharing or downloading obscene, pornographic, lewd, or otherwise illegal materials, images or photographs.[18]

  9. Access by students and minors to material that is harmful to minors or is determined inappropriate for minors in accordance with Board policy.

  10. Inappropriate language or profanity.

  11. Transmission of material likely to be offensive or objectionable to recipients.

  1. Intentional obtaining or modifying of files, passwords, and data belonging to other users.

  2. Impersonation of another user, anonymity, and pseudonyms.

  3. Fraudulent copying, communications, or modification of materials in

    violation of copyright laws.[19]

  4. Loading or using of unauthorized games, programs, files, or other electronic media.

  5. Disruption of the work of other users.

  6. Destruction, modification, abuse or unauthorized access to network hardware, software and files.

  7. Accessing the Internet, district computers or other network resources without authorization.

  8. Disabling or bypassing the Internet blocking/filtering software without authorization.

  9. Accessing, sending, receiving, transferring, viewing, sharing or downloading confidential information without authorization.

 

Security

 

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:

  1. Employees and students shall not reveal their passwords to another individual.

  2. Users are not to use a device that has been logged in under another student's or employee's name.

  3. Any user identified as a security risk or having a history of problems with other computer systems may be denied access to the network.

 

Copyright

 

The illegal use of copyrighted materials is prohibited. Any data uploaded to or downloaded from the network shall be subject to fair use guidelines and applicable laws and regulations.[19][20]

 

District Website and Learning Management Systems

 

The district shall establish and maintain a website and learning management systems and all content, templates, and course information shall be developed under the direction of the Superintendent or designee. All users publishing content on the district website or learning management systems shall comply with this and other applicable district policies. The district retains ownership of all content created/published on any district system.

 

Users shall not copy or download information from the district website and disseminate such information on unauthorized web pages without authorization from the Superintendent or designee.

 

The district utilizes third-party vendors for some technology services. Any advertising, including pop-up ads or other banners that may appear on those sites or applications do not represent the views of the district or its staff and are solely attributed to the third-party vendor or application in use.

 

Consequences for Inappropriate Use

 

The user shall be responsible for damages to the equipment, systems, and software resulting from deliberate or willful acts.[14]

 

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; 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.[6][7][8]

 

Return of Technology Equipment for Staff

 

On or before the last official day of employment (resignation, retirement, or termination) all technology equipment must be returned to the School District. All administrative duties must be completed before the last day of employee responsibilities, including grades and the transfer of materials as part of a transition to another staff member. All district accounts, including email, will be suspended at the end of the workday on the last day worked. All data, emails, and documents are property of the Upper St. Clair School District. No data is allowed to be forwarded or transferred to a non-School District account.

 

FMLA

  • All equipment must be returned on or before the last day worked.

 

Medical leaves & other leaves of absence

  • Leaves less than 4 weeks, the employee may keep technology equipment unless the leave extends beyond the 4 weeks.
  • Leaves 4 or more weeks, the employee must return the equipment on or before the last day worked.

 

Sabbaticals

  • All equipment must be returned on or before the last day worked.

 

Maternity leaves

  • All equipment must be returned on or before the last day worked.

 

Exceptions: Administrators, Curriculum Leaders, Central Office Staff, or Support Staff remaining in an advisory capacity during any leaves of absence may keep assigned technology equipment.

 

Equipment is subject to recall at any time by authorized school personnel.

 

Return of Technology Equipment for Students

Any district-owned technology equipment issued to students must be returned to the district at the conclusion of the school year unless otherwise notified. Any outstanding technology invoices must be paid in full by the end of the school year.

 

Students withdrawing from the district are required to return all district-owned technology equipment prior to their last day of enrollment. Any outstanding technology invoices must be paid in full at the time of withdrawal.

 

Equipment is subject to recall at any time by authorized school personnel.

 

The Superintendent or designee may develop administrative regulations for this policy.

 

Replaces Policy 3027 - Use of the District's Internet and Computer Networks adopted December 14, 2009 and revised November 26, 2012

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