6141 - Computer, Network and Internet Acceptable Use

Policy 6141 Computer, Network, and Internet Acceptable Use title box

I. Purpose

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union and its member districts [hereinafter SVSU] recognize that information technology (IT) is integral to learning and educating today’s children for success in the global community and fully supports the access of these electronic resources by students and staff. The purpose of this policy is to:
  1. Create an environment that fosters the use of information technology in a manner that supports and enriches the curriculum, provides opportunities for collaboration, and enhances staff professional development.
  2. Ensure the SVSU and its member districts take appropriate measures to maintain the safety of everyone who accesses the districts’ information technology devices, network and web resources.
  3. Comply with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws that regulate the provision of access to the Internet and other electronic resources by school districts.1

II. Policy

It is the policy of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District to provide students and staff access to a multitude of information technology (IT) resources, including, but not limited to, email, computers, wireless access points and the Internet. IT resources provide opportunities to enhance learning and improve communication within our community and with the global community.

A. The use of the SVSU IT resources by students, staff or others is a privilege, not a right.
B. With the privilege of access comes the responsibility of students, teachers, staff and the public to exercise responsible use of these resources.
C. The same rules and expectations govern student use of IT resources as apply to other student conduct and communications, including but not limited to the SVSU harassment and bullying policies. [See cross references below.]
D. The SVSU computer and network resources are the property of the SVSU. Users shall have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, receive or display on or over the SVSU computers or network resources, including personal files, images and email or other electronic communications.

III. Procedures

The Superintendent, or his/ her designee, is responsible for establishing procedures governing use of IT resources consistent with the provisions of this policy. These procedures must include:

A. An annual process for educating all students of all districts about responsible digital citizenship. Additionally, all students transferring into a district shall receive the same education prior to having access to the district’s IT resources as soon as is practicable. As defined in this policy, a responsible digital citizen is one who:

  1. Respects One’s Self: Users will maintain appropriate standards of language and behavior when sharing information and images on social networking websites and elsewhere online.
  2. Respects Others: Users refrain from using technologies to bully, tease or harass other people. Users will report incidents of cyber bullying and harassment in accordance with the SVSU policies on bullying and harassment. Users will also refrain from using another person’s system account or password or from presenting themselves as another person.
  3. Protects One’s Self and Others: Users protect themselves and others by reporting abuse and not forwarding inappropriate materials and communications. They are responsible at all times for the proper use of their account by not sharing their system account password. Users refrain from distributing personally identifiable information2 about themselves and others.
  4. Respects Intellectual Property: Users suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media, other intellectual property and digital media3 under the principles of the “Fair Use Doctrine.”4
  5. Protects Intellectual Property: Users request to use the software and media others produce.

B. Provisions necessary to ensure Internet service providers and other contractors comply with applicable restrictions on the collection and disclosure of student data and any other confidential information stored in district electronic resources.

C. Technology protection measures that provide for the monitoring and filtering of online activities by all users of SVSU IT, including measures that protect against access to content that is obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.5

D. Methods to address the following:6
  1. Control of access by minors to sites on the Internet that include inappropriate content, such as content that is:
  2. Lewd, vulgar, or profane<
    Harassing or discriminatory
    Obscene or pornographic
  3. The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, social media sites, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
  4. Prevention of unauthorized online access by minors and other unlawful activities.
  5. Unauthorized disclosure, use, dissemination of personal information regarding minors.
  6. Restriction of minors’ access to materials harmful to them.

E. A process whereby authorized persons may temporarily disable or bypass the SVSU Internet filtering measures during use by an adult to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.7

IV. Policy Application

This policy applies to anyone who accesses the SVSU network, collaboration and communication tools, and/or student information systems, either on-site or via a remote location, including access using privately owned devices, and anyone who uses the SVSU IT devices or services either on or off-site.

V. Limitation/Disclaimer of Liability

The SVSU and its member districts are not liable for unacceptable use or violations of copyright restrictions or other laws, user mistakes or negligence, and costs incurred by users. The SVSU are not responsible for ensuring the accuracy, age appropriateness, or usability of any information found on its electronic resources network, including the Internet. The SVSU are not responsible for any damage experienced, including, but not limited to, loss of data or interruptions of service. The SVSU are not responsible for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through or stored on the electronic resources system, including the Internet, or for financial obligations arising through their unauthorized use.

VI. Enforcement

The SVSU reserve the right to revoke access privileges and/or administer appropriate disciplinary action for misuse of its IT resources. In the event there is an allegation that a user has violated this policy, a student will be provided with notice and opportunity to be heard in the manner set forth in the student disciplinary policy.

Allegations of staff member violations of this policy will be processed in accordance with contractual agreements and legal requirements.

Legal References:

17 U.S.C. §§101-120 (Federal Copyright Act of 1976 as amended)
20 U.S.C. § 6777 et seq. (Enhancing Education Through Technology Act)
18 U.S.C. §2251 (Federal Child Pornography Law—Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children)
47 U.S.C. §254 (Children’s Internet Protection Act)
47 CFR §54.520 (CIPA Certifications)
13 V.S.A. §§2802 et seq. (Obscenity, minors)

Cross Reference SVSU Policies:

#5002-Student Harassment
#5003-Bullying Prevention
#5050-Discipline of Pupils Suspension and Expulsion of Students
#5084-Personal Use of Wireless Communications

Policy 6141 warning and adoption dates

1 The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) makes schools ineligible to receive funding for the purchase of computers used to access the Internet, or to pay costs associated with accessing the Internet, through the technology grants program “...unless the school, school board, local educational agency, or other authority with responsibility for administration of (the) school both...has in place a policy of Internet safety for minors that includes the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are...obscene; child pornography; or harmful to minors; and is enforcing the operation of such computers by minors; and has in place a policy of Internet safety that includes the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are...obscene or child pornography and is enforcing...such measure during use of any such computers...” 20 U.S.C. § 6777; 47 U.S.C. § 254(h)(5)(A) & (B). Prior to adoption, the school must “provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposed Internet safety policy.” 47 U.S.C. § 254(l)(1)(B).

2 For the purposes of this policy, “personally identifiable information” shall not include any information listed as “directory information” in the school district’s annual FERPA notice.

3 See generally protection for Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks at 17 U.S.C.§§101-1332 ; 35 U.S.C. §§100-212; and 35 U.S.C. §§ 1-42, respectively.

4 A set of guidelines pursuant to which researchers, educators, scholars, and others may use copyrighted works without seeking permission or paying royalties.

5 Required by Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 47 U.S.C. § 254(1); 47 C.F.R. § 54.520(c)(ii).

6 Required by Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 47 U.S.C. § 254(1); 47 C.F.R. § 54.520(c)(ii).

7 Required by 20 U.S.C. § 6777(c).