Advances in telecommunications and other related technologies have fundamentally altered the ways in which information is accessed, communicated, and transferred in our society. Such changes are driving the need for educators to adapt their means and methods of instruction, and the way they approach student learning, to harness and utilize the vast, diverse, and unique resources available on the Internet. The Board of Education is pleased to provide Internet services to its students. The Board encourages students to utilize the Internet in order to promote educational excellence in our schools by providing them with the opportunity to develop the resource sharing, innovation, and communi-cation skills and tools which will be essential to life and work in the 21st century. The instructional use of the Internet will be guided by the Board's policy on Instructional Materials.
The Internet is an electronic highway connecting computers and users in the District with computers and users worldwide. Access to the Internet enables students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, and bulletin boards, while exchanging messages with people throughout the world. Access to such an incredible quantity of information and resources brings with it, however, certain unique challenges.
First, and foremost, the Board may not be able to technologically limit access to services through the Board's Internet connection to only those that have been authorized for the purpose of instruction, study and research related to the curriculum. Unlike in the past when educators and community members had the opportunity to review and screen materials to assess their appropriateness for supporting and enriching the curriculum according to adopted guidelines and reasonable selection criteria (taking into account the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities, and developmental levels of the students who would be exposed to them), access to the Internet, because it serves as a gateway to any publicly available file server in the world, will open classrooms and students to electronic information resources which have not been screened by educators for use by students of various ages.
To ensure that the Board's computer resources are not used for inappropriate purposes and con-sistent with the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Board has implemented technology protection measures which block/filter Internet access to visual displays that are obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors. The Board utilizes software and/or hardware to monitor online activity of students to restrict access to pornography and other material that is obscene, objectionable, inappropriate and/or harmful to minors. Nevertheless, parents/guardians are advised that a determined user may be able to gain access to services on the Internet that the Board has not authorized for educational purposes. In fact, it is impossible to guarantee students will not gain access through the Internet to information and communications that they and/or their parents/guardians may find inappropriate, offensive, objectionable or controversial. Parents/guardians assume risks by consenting to allow their child to participate in the use of the Internet. Parents/guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using the Internet. The Board supports and respects each family's right to decide whether to apply for independent student access to the Internet.
The Superintendent is directed to prepare procedures which address students' safety and security while using e-mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications, and prohibit disclosure of personal identification information of minors and unauthorized access (e.g., "hacking") and other unlawful activities by minors online.
Building principals are responsible for providing training so that Internet users under their supervision are knowledgeable about this policy and its accompanying procedures. The Board expects that staff members will provide guidance and instruction to students in the appropriate use of the Internet. All Internet users (and their parents if they are minors) are required to sign a written agreement to abide by the terms and conditions of this policy and its accompanying procedures.
Students and staff members are responsible for good behavior on the Board's computers/network and the Internet just as they are in classrooms, school hallways, and other school premises and school-sponsored events. Communications on the Internet are often public in nature. General school rules for behavior and communication apply. The Board does not sanction any use of the Internet that is not authorized by or conducted strictly in compliance with this policy and its accompanying procedures. Users who disregard this policy and its accompanying procedures may have their use privileges suspended or revoked, and disciplinary action taken against them. Users granted access to the Internet through the Board's computers assume personal responsibility and liability, both civil and criminal, for uses of the Internet not authorized by this Board policy and its accompanying procedures.
The Board designates the Superintendent and Technology Coordinator as the administrators responsible for initiating, implementing, and enforcing this policy and its accompanying procedures as they apply to the use of the Network and the Internet for instructional purposes.
H.R. 4577, P.L. 106-554, Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000
Approved/Adopted: July 13, 2009