Policies and Programs
Engaging and Inspiring Learning Powered by Technology
Specifically, we must embrace innovation, prompt implementation, regular evaluation, and continuous improvement. The programs and projects that work must be brought to scale so every school has the opportunity to take advantage of their success. Our regulations, policies, actions, and investments must be strategic and coherent.
- The National Education Technology Plan
Local, state, and federal laws and policy requirements should also be considered and addressed within the plan as they relate to your overall goals. These include, for example, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), copyright use, acceptable use policies, and the needs for digital citizenship. Likewise, the Minimum Standards for Public School Approval require a K-12 Information and Communiation Technologies Program that integrates the use of digital tools and devices into the content curriculum and competencies. Digital portfolios are required K-8, with a local assessment for Information and Communication Technologies Literacy by the end of 8th grade for each student.
Policies and Programs
Children's Internet Protection Act
CIPA is a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2000 to address concerns about access in schools and libraries to the Internet and other information. For any school or library that receives E-Rate discounts for Internet access or for internal connections, CIPA imposes certain requirements. In addition, districts applying for federal Enhancing Education Through Technology funds (NCLB Title II-D) must certify that they have complied with CIPA requirements.
1. Blocking and Filtering Measures
Schools must have technology protection measures in place to block or filter Internet access, protecting against access by adults and minors to visual depictions that:
(a) are obscene,
(b) contain child pornography, or
(c) with respect to use of computers with Internet access by minors, are harmful to minors.
Such blocking measures may be disabled for adults engaged in bona fide research or other lawful purposes. CIPA does not require the tracking of Internet use by minors or adults.
2. Internet Safety Policy
Schools must adopt and enforce Internet safety policies that address:
(a) access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web;
(b) the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications;
(c) unauthorized access, including so-called "hacking," and other unlawful activities by minors online;
(d) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and
(e) measures designed to restrict minors' access to materials harmful to them.
3. Public Notice and Hearing
School districts must provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing to address a proposed Technology Protection Measure and Internet Safety Policy.
Copyright and Fair Use
Districts should ensure that both staff and students are aware of copyright and fair use laws regarding digital content. References to observation of copyright laws should be included within their Acceptable Use Policy documents.
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 Acceptable Use Policy
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.
What to include in an Acceptable Use Policy
The areas of technology use and populations covered by an AUP should be considered throughout the development of a school district AUP. An AUP might cover the following areas of technology use:
Facilities, District Web Site(s), E-Mail, and Internet Use.
Who Will Need an Acceptable Use Policy
An AUP might address the following populations:
District Level Administrators, School Building Administrators, Teachers, Other School Staff, Students, Parents, Other Community Members.
Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act (FERPA)
Information on student Internet activity that may be traced to a particular student may constitute personally identifiable information about a student. Parents of minor students are entitled to access this information. Placement of personally identifiable information on the web site concerning a student raises significant FERPA issues.
NH RSA 189:1-e Directory Information is the NH state law that enhances the effect of FERPA:
A local education agency which maintains education records may provide information designated as directory information consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Each year schools shall give parents public notice of the types of information designated as directory information. By a specified time after parents are notified of their review rights, parents shall request in writing to remove all or part of the information on their child that they do not wish to be available to the public. Such approval shall be renewed on an annual basis. Items of directory information, which is information not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, may include:
Name and address of a student
Field of Study
Weight and height of athletes
Most recent previous school attended
Date and place of birth
Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
Dates of attendance, degrees, and awards.
This is an extremely controversial issue, with a great deal of information
both pro and con available on the Internet. The new educational
technology legislation included within the No Child Left Behind
Act (NCLB) mandates filtering for schools receiving federal funds.
CIPA compliance is also required for schools to be eligible for
E-Rate Discounts. For more information on this issue, we recommend
you review the FCC Guide to CIPA REquirements.
Children's Internet Protection Act (FCC)
The Children's Internet Protection Act (American Library Association)
Common Sense on E-rate and CIPA: Toolkit for Administrators (Common Sense Media)
Internet Safety Policies and CIPA: An E-Rate Primer for Schools and Libraries (E-Rate Central)
Common Sense For School Internet Safety Policies (TechDirt)
Age Based Guidelines (Internet Safety 101)
Getting Started on the Internet: Developing an Acceptable Use Policy (Education World)
Safety Pledges (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
Copyright and Fair Use Center (Stanford University)
US Copyright Fair USe Index (US Copyright Office)
Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions (Teaching Copyright)
Copyright Law (Common Sense Media)
If You're Promoting Copyright Without Fair Use, You're Promoting Out And Out Censorship (TechDirt)
1-to-1 Essentials - Acceptable Use Policies (Common Sense Media)
Acceptable Use Policy (About Tech)