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Division of Program Support
NHEON > Office of Educational Technology > TECH PLAN GUIDE START

VI. POLICY & PROCEDURE:   A. Children's Internet Protection Act      B. Copyright & Fair Use     C. Acceptable Use Policy Kit

Acceptable Use Policy Kit

1. Why create an AUP
2. What to include in an AUP
3. Use of Facilities
4. Responsible Personnel

5. Network Access
6. Disciplinary Actions
7. Limitation of Liability
8. Bibliography

Creating Acceptable Use Policies

New Hampshire school districts are required by New Hampshire law (RSA 194:3-d) to have an acceptable use policy (AUP).

194:3-d School District Computer Networks

I. Every school district which has computer systems or networks shall adopt a policy which outlines the intended appropriate and acceptable use, as well as the inappropriate and illegal use, of the school district computer systems and networks including, but not limited to, the Internet.

II. All users of a school district's computer systems or networks who intentionally violate the district's policy and who intentionally damage the computer system or network shall assume legal and financial liability for such damage. For purposes of this section, "user" means any person authorized to access the school district's computer systems or networks including, but not limited to, the Internet.

Why create an AUP

Technology has provided a link to vast resources for use in K-12 schools. Throught the Internet, varied and rich resources are available to our students and about our students. This raises many concerns for school districts about providing an environment that balances the promises of technology against its perils. Students and other members of a school district have an obligation to use the technology appropriately. Having a
good Acceptable Use Policy in place offers some measure of protection
for a school district with respect to liability.

An AUP may cover a variety of issues. The K12 technology environment is so new that there is little case law and legislation directly related to some of these issues. Therefore, guidance in this AUP document is based on past court decisions in other environments. Also, new concerns may emerge as technology's role in schools increases. Having an AUP is a responsible step toward effective management of technology use issues.

Although the school board is responsible for the practices of a school district, AUP issues should be discussed by a broad-based group of stakeholders, such as a technology planning committee, to insure that all concerns have been examined. After the development of a school district AUP, it should be formally approved and periodically reviewed and updated. We also suggest review of any AUP by school district legal counsel. Parents should be provided with all information about the AUP, and retain the option of requesting that their child not be allowed access
to the system.

Students and district employees retain their constitutional rights, as well as other rights under state law and collective bargaining agreements. For example in the case of Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Community School District, 393 US 503, 506 (1969) the Court recognized that students "do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." However, student and employee use of any school district system will reflect upon the district. Therefore, a school district Appropriate Use Policy sets parameters under which the district system may be used. Remember that students or employees who wish to exercise greater freedom may do so outside of school, through their own personal account through a private provider.



Last update: 10/9/04